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The news about the new invasion by the demons came not from one of the Fokalore patrols dispatched at the borders with Vichy and the Wastelands, but was brought in by Vichy’s refugees who managed to escape.
At first it was considered to be outdated news due to refugees having been on the run all the time, especially as any mention of a demon invasion was also missing in the regular reports.
“In other words, that means the demon army didn’t come from the Wastelands, but suddenly appeared inside Vichy.” (Caim)
Caim, who checked the report drawn up by Paryuu, orally reported to Alyssa who is buried under a mountain of documents after having taken over the office formerly used by Hifumi. In short, what he wanted to tell her was to make a move immediately.
“How many troops do they have?” (Alyssa)
“Their scale is still unknown, but going by the number of refugees flowing in, it’s likely that they are steadily occupying cities opposite of the border touching with Orsongrande and Horant. Since it looks like the demons are also eliminating the rampaging soldiers of Pyursang, it became easier to deal with that side.” (Caim)
Apparently there were refugees who witnessed the demons killing reinforced soldiers.
The neatly summarized report was a splendid writing that had no places that required corrections by Caim and amply showed the abilities of Paryu. In addition, usually such documents, which appealed for an increased number of goods and personnel to be sent, had a lot darker emotions put into them, but in Paryu’s report something like that couldn’t be found at all, allowing for it to be passed around to staff members as material list without any changes.
And as matter of fact, Caim reproduced it without a single adjustment or supplement, and handed it over to Alyssa. He considered it to be just the right document to practise how to read reports.
“Since there’s an increase in the number of refugees, Paryu has requested goods and in addition personnel for defense duties. According to her estimation, there will probably be contact with the demons in less than 10 days. I share the same opinion.” (Caim)
It seemed that Vichy as group of city-states had already ceased to function. Loud requests for assistance started to flow in not from the central committee, but from the various cities close to Fokalore. But, in accordance with Hifumi’s order, they officially gave the reason “On top of instructing them to calmly watch the country, they should rely on the central committee first.” Alyssa adopted that stance as well.
“What shall we do?” (Caim)
Although Caim inquired expressionlessly and indifferently, one country on the other side of the border is being overrun by demons. Considering Fokalore, it was a danger affecting the existence of the territory.
Given that Viine understood that as well, she trembled while looking at the report.
“Increase the number of personnel… or rather, we will send the entire army. I will go as well. I will also take Pruflas-san and the other dwarves along. Prepare a shuttle service with rail cars since we will use all those who are useful for the construction of a defense base.” (Alyssa)
Once she returned the document to Caim, who was swiftly noting down her instructions, Alyssa continued,
“I’m sure he intended for me to look after this territory and noble title. Someday the time will come when Hifumi will come back, and then I will be scolded if the territory has shrunk or if I lost to someone.” (Alyssa)
And then she asked Viine to come with her as well.
“Can you keep me company for just a bit longer? I’d like you to tell Hifumi that I’m doing my best when you go to him.” (Alyssa)
In her heart she was scared, but Viine willingly accepted Alyssa’s request. It had been decided that Viine would be stationed at an official position that allows her to travel between Hifumi and the territory once she finished the basic education. She felt it to be natural for her to accompany Alyssa for the sake of playing that role.
“Caim-san, how long until we can depart?” (Alyssa)
“The preparation of goods is already making progress. Probably it will be possible for the first group to depart tomorrow morning. Since the rail cars and railroad tracks are ready, they will be able to arrive there in a day.” (Caim)
“As expected of you!” (Alyssa)
The next day Caim and Brokra stayed behind in Fokalore as representatives of the feudal lord, and Alyssa headed towards the border city Rhone while being accompanied by Viine as assistant.
On the third day of them setting up weaponry such as spear throwers and reinforcing the walls at high speed, unexpected visitors showed up.
“Ah! Viine-san, it’s been a while!” (Reni)
“Reni-san!? The others as well…!” (Viine)
Going towards Viine, who rushed over after being called by the border guards, Reni and Gengu approached her while waving their hands. The elves such as Zanga were present behind them as well.
“W-What’s wrong?” (Viine)
“Yeah, we want to live here. That’s okay?” (Reni)
Viine felt dizzy. She somehow managed to put strength into her knees while holding her head.
“I-I don’t have the authority to decide that, so…” (Viine)
The one who came running to the place right before crossing the border at a light pace was the feudal lord Alyssa. She was additionally wearing a red mantle upon Miyukare’s suggestion, who said that she’d like Alyssa to be dignified in front of the refugees, but with her running around causing the mantle to fly in the wind, it only looked as if a child was playing around.
After Viine explained to the puzzled Reni about Alyssa, Reni bowed her head towards Alyssa.
“Everybody wants to lead lives similar to humans. Please!” (Reni)
“Then, for starters you will live in this city. Viine-san, please ask Paryu whether there are any free buildings or inns and guide them there. Also please register them in the census, too. And, I’d like to listen to everyone’s stories, so please treat me well at that time.” (Alyssa)
Alyssa and Reni, who exchanged a firm handshake, smiled at each other faintly and separated.
Viine ran to the temporary town hall to look for Paryu. Alyssa told her that she has another task and headed to the wall that was still under construction.
“… Somehow it was decided all too easily. Although you said that she’s Hifumi’s successor…I’m sorry to say that, but will it be alright?” (Gengu)
“Isn’t it fine?” (Reni)
Reni immediately rejected Gengu’s concerns.
“Maybe that child… ah, wrong, Lord-sama thought that it would be convenient for us elves and beastmen to be here? Various people are reinforcing the walls and preparing the weapons. There are also very many soldiers present. They are probably expecting the demons to attack.” (Reni)
“So, why would be our existence be convenient to them then?” (Gengu)
“I was taught by Hifumi that it’s the basics to make your opponents plans go haywire in a battle. The demons don’t know that we are in a human city… that’s likely what Lord-sama is thinking.” (Reni)
“That means we are…” (Gengu)
“I don’t think that they plan to use us as shields, but… as one of the traps, maybe? I think the commanders-on-site won’t know what they should do if they run into beastmen after coming here with the intention to fight against humans. At any rate, since there’s also the matter with Malfas, it’s possible that our movements have been leaked to the other side.” (Reni)
Reni casually looked around and saw Viine running in her direction.
“Either way, let’s have them protect us by showing them our usefulness. Hey, something smells nice. For starters I will take a break. I’m already exhausted.” (Reni)
The people, who continued to walk until here, realized their own exhaustion due to Reni’s words and fell into a deep slumber after somehow arriving at the rooms prepared by Viine.
“What are you saying. You, are you an idiot?”
After the meeting in regards how to deal with Hifumi, which also included Origa, Imeraria summoned Hifumi, who’s lodging in the castle, to her own room.
She had given detailed instructions to everyone, including the maids, to not get close to her room, but didn’t notice that this act in itself had provoked Hifumi’s wariness.
And when he confronted her about it, Imeraria told him that she wants his child. Once he concluded that she probably kept the servants away out of shyness that her love affair or whispered intimacies would be overheard, Hifumi lost all strength and fell back into the sofa.
“Which reminds me, Origa sent a weird look my way. So it’s about this, huh?” (Hifumi)
“Yeah, Origa-san is your wife, Hifumi-sama, I got her permission first…” (Origa)
“I’m not a toy to be used by you guys. Being lent out feels unpleasant.” (Hifumi)
Imeraria rushed over in a hurry to Hifumi, who got up, and grabbed the hem of his hakama.
“P-Please wait! This isn’t really about something like sharing or competing.” (Imeraria)
Once she put it into words it allowed her to strangely calmly judge Certainly it’s inevitable for Hifumi to be angry about this. But, currently that wasn’t the issue here.
The words she was trying to voice out should attract Hifumi’s curiosity, although they were based on a thought that had appeared after her having considered the lowest possible ideas in circles.
“… This is also a preparation to kill you.” (Imeraria)
He was dragging Imeraria’s light body after him, but suddenly stopped upon hearing those words.
“What do you mean by that?” (Hifumi)
He turned around and looked down on Imeraria.
Imeraria also firmly looked up directly into the eyes of Hifumi in order to not avert her eyes. She felt like his black pupils became even blacker in comparison to the time when she met him for the first time.
“It means that you will be defeated by your own child. That’s why I’m telling you that I want your child.” (Imeraria)
I ended up telling him, she thinks, and I will keep talking before I regret it.
“I hate you. You are detestable. My family summoned you and was killed by you because of that. My father, mother and younger brother might not have been good people by any means, but while that may be true, I’m not a person who can come to terms with it to the degree of considering it as fine for my family to be murdered…” (Imeraria)
Imeraria made sure that Hifumi was simply looking at her without saying anything and took off her night-clothes. The thin cloth slips off with a faint rustling, exposing her still developing body.
“I intend to do whatever I must if it allows me to get my vengeance. I will do anything, no matter how dangerous it might, if it enables me to kill you, even if that might be acts going against human nature.” (Imeraria)
She slowly leaned in close while confirming that Hifumi wasn’t escaping.
Suddenly she felt a sensation of floating.
“Eh? Kyaaa!” (Imeraria)
She was lifted up from both sides and tossed on top of the bed.
Her slender body fell on its butt while assuming a posture of sitting at ease. Feeling somehow embarrassed, she pulled the thin bed sheet towards herself and covered her chest.
During that time Hifumi returned to the sofa, sat down with a flump and drank his cold black tea.
“If it’s only that, I won’t have any motivation to embrace your seedy-looking body. Saying that it’s for the sake of killing me is nice and all. Your thinking is difficult to understand as it’s too roundabout, but it’s not bad. Since I never killed my own family yet, I can’t understand your emotions either.” (Hifumi)
“If a woman harbors a single desire, she won’t forget it until her death. A blockhead, who doesn’t understand the heart of women like you, Hifumi-sama, will definitely be unable to comprehend until their death.” (Imeraria)
“It sure seems like I’m being called heartless here. I came to this world after being summoned by you. Because I was called here for a selfish reason, I passed my time by acting selfishly. Although you might resent or blame me for that, I don’t have any obligation to humor you in that. Or am I wrong?” (Hifumi)
“No, you are not wrong. The one who threw your life out of order was me. The one who should bear that crime wasn’t father but me.” (Imeraria)
Imeraria grabbed the knife placed near her pillow.
“If I had the power, I could have put an end to all of it by stabbing you with this. Me dying through this might have been another conclusion, if you had lived peacefully in this world, before you spread the triggers of battle all over the world.” (Imeraria)
She threw the knife away.
The knife fell on the thick carpet between Imeraria and Hifumi without bouncing.
“But, the option to finish it in such way has already disappeared. It’s necessary to have you exit the stage and moreover to obtain the power to subdue this world that was thrown into chaos by you.” (Imeraria)
“So you’re saying that my child will become that power, huh…? I don’t understand. You are going to sleep with a man you don’t even like for that sake?” (Hifumi)
“I like you. I have been in love with you. Since the time I took a look at you for the first time, I was always convinced that you are hero-sama. Though you pointed a weapon at me in the next instant.” (Imeraria)
While giggling, Imeraria let her naked body fall on the bed.
Hifumi stared at the nude queen in front of him suspiciously.
“Just now you told me that you hate me, didn’t you?” (Hifumi)
“Those two emotions can coexist. A woman’s heart is strange, whimsy and full of contradictions.” (Imeraria)
Drawing slowly and quietly near, she suddenly picked up the knife again.
Imeraria showed an instant of hesitation and then swung the knife downwards.
The silver-shining blade didn’t touch Hifumi.
Hifumi’s left hand grabbed her hand that was swung down with all her strength, and his right hand seized Imeraria’s neck.
Imeraria, who lowered the knife, looked at Hifumi’s face that was approaching in front of her eyes as her neck was drawn towards him. She didn’t know what kind of face she was making. It might be one full of shame, one of anger or even a charming, sweet one.
“What are you thinking?” (Hifumi)
“I didn’t want to be left alone by myself. If I told you that, would you understand?” (Imeraria)
“There’s no way I would, is there? You are certainly similar to Origa in some respects. Are you fine with that?” (Hifumi)
“P-Please don’t say something so rude. Besides, bringing up the name of another woman in front of a woman is impolite.” (Imeraria)
It was a conversation at a range where they could feel each others breaths.
It’s suffocating, but not detestable.
“Apart from it being my child, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will become as strong as me.” (Hifumi)
“Right now you can raise it and be in charge of its education, can’t you? Besides, I managed to prepare someone trustable who will teach it magic. If all goes well, it will likely become far stronger than you, Hifumi-sama.” (Imeraria)
“Those guys, huh? You sure prepared things thoroughly.” (Hifumi)
At the instant Hifumi spoke in astonishment, the the strength constricting her neck relaxed.
Using that chance, Imeraria grabbed Hifumi’s head and pressed her lips on his.
“Make love with me. The world you desire is ahead of that. And its demise is to be found there as well. I will shape that history.” (Imeraria)
They eyes of Imeraria, who earnestly lined up word after word, felt to Hifumi as if they had already become that of a lunatic.
At the same time he couldn’t deny that they overlapped with the eyes of his wife.
“I really have bad luck with women, don’t I?” (Hifumi)
Holding Imeraria, who was clinging to him while roughly breathing through her nose, he carried her to the bed.
At the time when dawn broke, Hifumi wasn’t at Imeraria’s side anymore.
While feeling a dull pain, she ended up releasing a weird scream due to the success of her strategy and her excitement out of embarrassment.