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“Oh, what did the tiger cub see?”
Malfas ran off towards Hifumi in silence.
On the other side of Malfas, who fully demonstrated the physical prowess of beastmen with an expression of rage, the figure of Gengu, who chased after him in a hurry, appeared in the field of vision of Hifumi who is leisurely lying in wait.
“You are aaaahh!” (Malfas)
Despite there still being distance left between them, he leaps up while revealing the sharp claws on both his paws.
There’s also the difference in physique, but more than anything, something like an attack that was sent in a straight line to the degree of being stupid can be dodged by Hifumi with closed eyes.
Hifumi, who avoided it by tilting his head slightly, delivered a frontal kick into Malfas’ soft belly.
While watching Malfas who is rolling around while holding his belly, Gengu stood out-of-breath in front of Hifumi and bowed.
“Sorry for not contacting you ~ssu. I brought this tigerboy along as he said that he wants to receive training from you, Hifumi-san, but…” (Gengu)
“Oh, is that so?” (Hifumi)
Hifumi nods lightly while apparently having forgotten about being attacked.
Hifumi, who stood in front of Malfas who has fainted and is smeared with dirt, looked down on him with the hands in his sleeves*. (T/N: says pockets here but I don’t remember hakama‘s having any outer pockets like western jackets or such)
“Hey, tiger child.” (Hifumi)
The best Malfas can do is glaring at Hifumi who starts to ask a question.
“You are far too weak. Let alone you having not changed at all from before, you got even weaker? I told you that I would kill you the next time we met, but this won’t do. I don’t have even any motivation to kill you.” (Hifumi)
Origa, who approached from behind Hifumi without making even a single sound, addressed him in a low voice. The iron-ribbed fan is in her hand and she is gripping it tightly to a degree that blood is spilling.
“Did you finish your talk? If you don’t mind, I want to get rid of this rude fellow with my own hands.” (Origa)
Her cold gaze seizes Malfas.
He was also surprised about her having approached him, who is a beastman, without getting noticed, but rather than that, it was a shock for the beauty, that looked at him with a smile until not long ago, to request permission to kill him.
Tears due to a mix of pain and sadness overflow.
Trying to cut in there, Gengu kneels in a way of protecting Malfas.
“M-Madam! Can’t you please show some leniency!? This fellow is misunderstanding something as well, I think…?” (Gengu)
“How bothersome.” (Hifumi)
Muttering a brief complaint, Hifumi decided to explain it briefly at this place.
It’s about Malfas being one of the two children he overlooked at the time of crushing the village of tiger beastmen in the wastelands.
And about having told him to get strong the next time they met each other.
He didn’t tell his name though.
“… Then, without abiding to what he was told by you, Hifumi-sama, he is still as weak as he was. After all he is a brat who is stubbornly difficult to save. Well, even if I didn’t know, it was my mistake to have brought a guy like this in front of you, Hifumi-sama. Please punish us, including this dog as well, for being responsible. It’s the same sin for the elf and rabbit as well.” (Gengu)
Hifumi’s hand grasped Origa’s right hand which was raised overhead.
“Won’t you wait…? Hey, why do I have to stop you? Even though I’m enduring for the sake of Alyssa and that stupid queen, you…” (Hifumi)
While feeling the pain of her wrist being tightened to the limit, Origa gulped with a 「Ha」.
Shouldn’t I be the one knowing better than anyone that Hifumi is constantly thinking about wanting to kill others more than anyone else? Once she recalled, Origa, who noticed that he got angry at the time when she killed Ayperos, the younger brother of Imeraria, as well, felt as if it was Hifumi’s kindness to scold her, also including the pain of her wrist being constricted with a force similar to a vise.
“E-Excuse me. G-Grasp it tighter, punishment for me, more…” (Origa)
Flinging Origa away by releasing her wrist with a “phooey”, Hifumi brings his face close to Malfas who is squatting down.
“So, what will you do? I will kill you now if you give up. However, right… Gengu.” (Hifumi)
“How is Reni’s group doing?” (Hifumi)
Gengu, who was beffuddled for just an instant due to the abrupt question, swallowed his spit and began to talk.
“Having reached the point that many are living in the human city, the slums have grown rapidly ~ssu. There are also quarrels with the human part of the city, Reni-san and Helen-san are protecting the city by doing their best now… ~ssu.” (Gengu)
“There’s plenty of beastmen and humans. On top of that the elves are living together with them. If it goes on like this, the power will reverse in regards to the human-only city”, Gengu explained earnestly.
“Moreover, it’s been discovered that beastmen can use magic, too. Look there, the rabbitwoman Viine-san who is over there, she has learned magic with her whole heart in her wish for being helpful to you, Hifumi-san. Because of that she was able to come here to meet you ~ssu.” (Gengu)
“Hmm… then let’s do it like this.” (Hifumi)
Grabbing Malfas head, Hifumi forcibly matched his line of sight with Malfas’.
“You, go back to the wastelands. And then show me a part of your power by making good use of what you possess and destroy a human city. Once you are able to do that, I will be once again your opponent.” (Hifumi)
“A human city…” (Malfas)
Hifumi asks the shocked Malfas 「You can’t?」.
“Ah, how regrettable. Though you probably thought that even I won’t be able to win if you were able to unify the beastmen. Rather, a tiger has to refine a tiger-like group combat.” (Hifumi)
While making fun of him in a strange tone, Hifumi separates obviously having lost any interest in him.
By the way, it’s Hifumi’s misunderstanding, but tigers originally hunt individually and not in groups.
“At any rate, don’t disturb me as I’m currently observing.” (Hifumi)
While Hifumi sees them off with a wave of his hand, Malfas stands up after being helped by Gengu. Tears were glittering in his eyes, but his look has become completely that of a beast.
“You are called Malfas, right?” (Origa)
When called out by Origa, Gengu’s and Malfas’ shoulders quivered with a jolt.
“Work hard this time for sure to not make Hifumi-sama disappointed.” (Origa)
Gengu receives the paper, Origa quietly held out, in place of Malfas.
“It’s probably good for you to return to the wastelands by going back to Fokalore now since they can give you several soldiers to guard and guide you. Train for a while in Fokalore before you head into the wastelands. Show this paper to a staff member of Fokalore. It should serve you well.” (Origa)
“It’s a welcome offer, but why…?” (Gengu)
“Don’t you understand?” (Origa)
Although she’s smiling, she’s scary.
“Realizing Hifumi-sama’s desires are my goal of life now. If it’s for that cause, I will do anything. I will kill anyone.” (Origa)
While caressing her right wrist preciously, Origa looks up to the sky.
“Fight. Fight by involving all those who can fight. And kill Hifumi-sama with all of them.” (Origa)
“However”, Origa glared once again.
“If you are unable to do anything but lukewarm attacks like the one just now, your life and the lives of the ones in your surroundings will simply vanish. Engrave that into your heart.” (Origa)
“For there to be such magic…” (Tannin)
Was it a mistake to have deployed the magic soldiers in one go in order to win easily? Tannin grind his teeth in vexation, but it couldn’t be seen on his expression.
“It’s already fine to pull back the magic soldiers. We will reform the ranks by bringing the infantry to the forefront while screening with suitable spear fire.” (Tannin)
Tannin reviews the current state while listening to the soldier, who received the instructions, relaying them in a loud voice.
The advantage in numbers superiority shouldn’t have been overturned yet, he believed. For our side’s attacks mostly not reaching is painful, but on the other hand our own army’s losses are few as well.
“We will be forced back against our will by infantry as is, huh? Although it’s lacking in smartness, what’s certain is…” (Tannin)
The problem: Is Nelgal on Orsongrande’s side? Assuming he is, it’s very likely that it will turn into a melee once both infantries clash despite us having concluded where he is. Once that happens, it will be troublesome to search for a single person.
However, that ended up being a needless worry.
The person, they are looking for, made an appearance on the other side.
“Tannin-sama! Nelgal-sama… or a person calling himself like that has appeared!”
“… Oh?” (Tannin)
Tannin stared in wonder and grinned broadly after a few blinks towards the yelled words of the soldier who came running and was panting.
“Inform everyone, that’s an imposter. And tell them that the scoundrel, who impersonates to be the crown prince, must be eliminated by our hands.” (Tannin)
At the time Nelgal left for the front line, his appearance looked impressive like a high-ranking person, who wore an extravagant robe, and his horse, which possessed a magnificent stature, was equipped with a sparkling saddle that had jewels embedded within. It was somehow boastful.
(I thought such kind of acts will happen after the coronation though.) (Nelgal)
Once he proceeded at walking pace while smiling wryly, Orsongrande’s soldiers made a path for him and he was able to pass through the crowd of people until in front of the barrier.
With Horant’s magic attacks having ended, he can see that movement of the ranks has started while spears are fired sporadically.
“My dear soldiers of Horant!” (Nelgal)
Nelgal raises his voice which is getting gradually hoarse as he uses a volume he isn’t used to.
With him being apparently audible to Horant’s side’s front line as well, he pretty much realized that several gazes were facing his way.
“I’m the next king, Nelgal! Thanks to the kindness of Imeraria-dono, the ruler of Orsongrande, I arrived at this place. I will return to Adolamelk and hold a memorial service for His Majesty, the great Suprangel! I don’t know who is commanding the army, but open a path!” (Nelgal)
Due to him having boldly declared that, Horant’s soldiers were astir, but even that came to an end right away and the changes in the ranks continued even while he tilted his head to the side ((in confusion)).
“It seems that they decided for Your Majesty to be an imposter.” (Vaiya)
Once Vaiya, who approached casually from behind Nelgal, mutters that, Nelgal shakes his head and says 「How disappointing」.
“And, as I’m still not crowned, it isn’t “Your Majesty.” … As planned, please go ahead.” (Nelgal)
“Nelgal-sama… that might be difficult, but…” (Vaiya)
Turning around, Nelgal shows a cheerful expression.
“Originally that was something I had to do since a lot earlier. While receiving so much support, I won’t act as if reproaching your country. Besides, in a sense it’s good this way, is what I think.” (Nelgal)
“I-It’s good?” (Vaiya)
“Yes, it’s a good opportunity. If nothing had happened and if I had returned to the castle after finishing my studying, I might have been crowned. … But, with just being nominated, I still wouldn’t have any kind of achievements either.” (Nelgal)
Vaiya lacked the words to retaliate.
He is more or less a blood-relative of the former king, but it’s a quite distant relation. Of course there would likely be many complaints, too, Vaiya was able to imagine that easily. Even the former king Suprangel, who decided his studying abroad in Fokalore and not within the country, might have taken such measure in apprehension of those circumstances.
“It’s an excellent chance. If I triumphantly return to the castle after displaying my commanding as king in this place, it will probably make my voice and face known to the people of my nation. I’d like to have your country help for a bit longer, but accordingly I will stride across the battlefield majestically just like Her Majesty, Imeraria.” (Nelgal)
“That is…” (Vaiya)
Though a large part of that is due to Imeraria bearing a heart of rivalry towards Hifumi while she hides her fear. Even so that might be said by me since I’m aware of it, Vaiya felt.
“Those are promising words. Well then, just as planned, good fortunes of war.”
Once finishing the conversation, Vaiya, who tightened his expression, faces to the front.
“Elites of Horant! Have you still not heard my voice!?” (Nelgal)
While Nelgal was shouting in a thunderous voice, Vaiya quietly left from behind Nelgal.
“Your Majesty, Imeraria, there are no movements from Horant. It looks like they are a bit shaken by Nelgal-sama’s words, but beyond that…” (Vaiya)
“Is that so? … Then, please proceed as planned.” (Imeraria)
“As you command!” (Vaiya)
Vaiya, who bowed atop his horse, shifted his look to behind Queen Imeraria, who was on the platform wagon without change, even after Nelgal mounted a horse.
There he saw Hifumi who was indulging in pastry of the royal purveyor, drinking black tea and sitting on the floor of a platform wagon while ignoring the rabbitwoman who was continuing to tell him how much she wanted to meet him again with a flushed face as she approached him to a distance of being about to embrace Hifumi.
Moreover, next to them there’s Origa who seems to be thoroughly enquiring Sabnak about the rules and treatment of noble’s concubines and marriages in the kingdom. Sabnak has limited knowledge regarding the customs of nobles. As he isn’t well-informed about the law, except those regarding troubles on the streets, he is sweating with a miserable expression while being glared at for being hard pressed to answer.
“Umm, that is…” (Vaiya)
“Don’t mind it. Let’s hurry up for the sake of Nelgal-sama and Horant for now?” (Imeraria)
“Yes, as you wish!” (Vaiya)
Due to Imeraria’s words, which made her irritation clear as day, Vaiya makes his horse gallop to the rear in hurry.
“Good grief… Sabnak-san!” (Imeraria)
Sabnak stood up with a smile. He thought it was a lifeboat from Imeraria.
“What’s this as Captain of the Royal Knight Order, this predicament!? Don’t you think that you are lacking self-awareness as person who protects the royal court?” (Imeraria)
Sabnak is confused due to what he believed to be a reinforcement being in fact a pincer attack .
“Eh? No, but…” (Sabnak)
“It isn’t something overly nice, but the problem of men and women is an indispensable part in the noble’s society. Isn’t it also necessary to sometimes resolve a quarrel between fellow nobles by forcing your way through?” (Imeraria)
Ahead of Imeraria’s gaze, on the other side of the prostrating Sabnak, the nodding Origa is visible. And also the figure of Hifumi who is heartily tossing the sweets, she looked forward to herself, into his mouth while being served by a beautiful rabbitwoman. Imeraria, who got excessively angry due to that spectacle, snorted with a “Humph.”
“As there are also people who feel insecure about their position with the mistresses increasing by about one or two, please study it properly.” (Imeraria)
“… If you have any complaints, I will listen to them directly, Your Majesty.” (Origa)
“Oh my, I haven’t talked about you, Origa-san… or do you feel uneasy?” (Imeraria)
Due to Imeraria calmly fixing her sitting posture after turning her sight towards Hifumi and leaking a forced “Ufufu,” Origa tightly grasps her iron-ribbed fan with both hands and is on the verge of breaking it.
“O-Origa-san, calm down.” (Sabnak)
Ignoring Sabnak who tries to soothe her, Origa sat down next to Hifumi and gently placed a hand on his shoulder.
Hifumi holds the black tea in his mouth without showing any particular reaction.
“Madam, are you alright…?” (Viine)
Almost glaring at Viine who calls out to her in worry, Origa relaxed her brows with her fingers.
“I-I’m alright. A-After all I won’t lose to a situation of this degree as legal wife…” (Origa)
The soldiers, who received Vaiya’s message, in the vicinity of the platform wagons with their lively and carefree atmosphere advance to the front.
They are the soldiers of Horant, who joined Orsongrande’s side after accepting Nelgal’s persuasion along the way. Currently they are an unit directly commanded by Nelgal.
Their numbers are 2.000.
They advance orderly aiming for Nelgal, who is their supreme commander, in a long procession. They will escort the real king to his throne. The soldiers, who understood it as opportunity to achieve the highest of all honours, were filled to the brim ((with pride)) in mind and body.