Malfas, who was glaring at Hifumi, hadn’t changed all that much in size, but his muscles had grown significantly, and his claws had become sharp and thick.
“It looks like you did your best and trained yourself quite a bit. Nice, nice, I will properly take you on if you come at me while having this much bloodthirst.” (Hifumi)
Hifumi put away the kusarigama while speaking, but having said that, he didn’t draw his katana.
Irritation dyed Malfas’ face seeing Hifumi not even trying to get ready and just letting his unarmed hands dangle.
“As I said.”
Hifumi diverted the trajectory of Malfas, who had leaped at him from the front, by hitting his head with the right hand, and forced him back with a front kick towards the completely defenseless flank.
“I have no intention to forbid you to roar or shout enthusiastically, but if there’s no need to announce the timing of your attack, then shut your trap. If you can’t attack without using your voice, go home.” (Hifumi)
He calmly pointed out while grabbing the head of a demon soldier with the words, “You’re a nuisance,” and throwing him on the ground.
And then he announced his conclusion alongside a sigh, “So this is your limit, huh? You might get a little better if you forge your body, but…a hotspur, who doesn’t even try to understand the difference in ability between him and his opponent, will end up losing his life in the blink of an eye. Well, it’s not that I don’t have any pity with you. I will show you how it’s done effectively.”
Hifumi evaded Malfas’ movements, who was swinging his claws frantically, with such a composure and easiness that it looked as if he could as well hum a song.
“Alyssa! Come here for a moment!” (Hifumi)
Apparently having heard him properly, Alyssa ran over from the plaza’s entrance area while quickly slipping through in-between the demons.
“What is the matter?” (Alyssa)
“I will give you your final lesson now. Watch me.” (Hifumi)
“Eh…? Okay!” (Alyssa)
Alyssa got stuck on the word final, but still answered immediately. She didn’t want to waste any time on any unnecessary exchanges.
“By the way, Alyssa.” (Hifumi)
“Is something wrong!?” (Alyssa)
“There’s the saying, done is better than perfect, right? Simply put, it means, deciding swiftly and taking action is better than being slow even if it’s somewhat roughly done.” (Hifumi)
Alyssa silently stood stock still while being watched by Hifumi.
While her face was drenched in sweat, Hifumi said, “I guess you could say being late to the battlefield is better as long as you’ve got a plan. Reflect on it and honestly confess to Caim once you get back to Fokalore.”
Seeing Alyssa shrug her shoulders lightly, Hifumi laughed a bit.
“Well then, time to start.” (Hifumi)
He turned around to Malfas once again.
Behind Hifumi, Origa slipped in, matching her back against his.
“I will make sure that there are no nuisances.” (Origa)
“I see. I leave it to you.” (Hifumi)
“Alyssa, watch properly. Make sure to tell what you’ve seen and heard here to Fokalore’s soldiers and the people fighting on this world.” (Origa)
“Okay! Thank you!” (Alyssa)
Origa nodded with a smile at Alyssa’s energetic reply. Origa moved speedily and without delay, chopping up the surrounding demon soldiers while scattering several wind blades.
“As you see, I will make full use of you as teaching material. …Come at me with your life on the line. It won’t be much of a lesson if it ends right away.” (Hifumi)
Malfas, who had been handled suitable while talking, made it clear that he apparently had lost his cool quite a bit by growling and breathing roughly.
Watching Malfas getting ready by thrusting his claws in front and being about to repeat the same attacks as until now, Hifumi was somewhat disappointed.
“Every last one of the beastmen…in that meaning, Reni having been there was a godsend, huh?” (Hifumi)
For the beastmen and for Hifumi.
Imeraria decided to confirm the result of what she was trying to do with her own eyes.
Different from Vepar, who was watching the situation with big drops of sweat running down her gray skin, Imeraria had been coolly looking down at the plaza with a look that seemed to conceal all her emotions.
She had silently watched how Midas was defeated by a demon’s attack and how he had been sent back.
“Midas-san…” Having watched the same scene as Imeraria, Sabnak whispered under his breath.
Once she looked over her shoulder in response, she saw that he was watching the battlefield while sweating in the same way as Vepar. Finding his look comical, Imeraria covered her mouth with a hand and quietly laughed for the first time since the beginning of the battle.
Sabnak’s expression warped as soon as he noticed the queen’s smile. She didn’t know how to express it best, but to Imeraria it looked as if there was no mistake that his expression contained some bewilderment.
“Your Majesty…?” (Sabnak)
“Ah, sorry for laughing. Sabnak-san, you’re my guard, so you mustn’t only pay attention to what’s happening below.” (Imeraria)
“This…excuse me!” (Sabnak)
Sabnak wiped his sweat away and straightened himself. And yet he couldn’t separate his eyes from the plaza.
“It looks like Midas-san has been wounded.” (Imeraria)
“How worrisome…well, even if I say so, it probably only sounds weird.” (Imeraria)
“Something like that is…I’m sure Midas-san will be happy to hear of your consideration, Your Majesty.” (Sabnak)
“Although I am the cause?” (Imeraria)
He couldn’t decide whether he should approve or not.
“I asked you something nasty.” (Imeraria)
When she returned her eyes to the plaza again, Hifumi was talking about something with Alyssa, who had come close to the center of the plaza without her noticing, while dealing with a boy who appeared to be a beastman.
“A beastman? Why…?” (Imeraria)
“That boy, well, he joined the demons as he wanted to fight against Hifumi.” (Vepar)
Vepar explained while looking at the beastboy.
“So, why on this battlefield?” (Imeraria)
“I haven’t called him. As expected, he was still in the middle of training as he’s too young.” (Vepar)
He probably showed up here after sneaking into one of the unplanned transfer units after being instigated by Bashim or another demon.
Vepar talked about the circumstance she could think of, “It seems not only his family, but even his village had been annihilated by that man. …I didn’t collect any evidence, but I believe him. …I wanted to at least save that boy…”
Even as she voiced out that wish, Vepar knew that it was impossible. He was already standing in front of Hifumi, attacking with clear hostility.
“I think that’s impossible…looks like I have no choice but to wish that he can at least retaliate once.”
“No, it’s a good opportunity.” (Imeraria)
Imeraria also watched the beastman’s and Hifumi’s movements for a while, but seemingly trying to teach something to Alyssa, Hifumi called her over and had her stand next to him. Hifumi apparently planned to face the beastman again in front of Alyssa.
“Hifumi-sama stopped moving. …It’s a good opportunity.” (Imeraria)
“Wait a moment! Won’t that boy get dragged into it then!?”
“He reaps what he sowed.” (Imeraria)
“Even without doing it right now…”
“If we let this pass, there won’t be any guarantee that we will get another chance.” (Imeraria)
Not only did Imeraria face Puuse, she also stepped up close to her.
“What would happen if you were to deploy the barrier now?”
“…I-It depends on the timing, but it will be only Hifumi-san, or Malfas-kun will be dragged into as well…” (Puuse)
“It’s the name of that beastboy. You know him as well?” (Vepar)
Vepar also got in front of Puuse. The slightly taller Vepar looked down on her, but just like at the time when they met in the wastelands, Puuse stared back.
“Yes, I do. I don’t know about his fate with Hifumi-san, though…” (Puuse)
Puuse looked back at Imeraria as if seeking her opinion.
Imeraria had been pondering with her eyes shut, but apparently having resolved herself, she opened her eyes widely, seizing Puuse with her blue eyes.
“”Be it things that were allowed to happen or things that happened, in the end the one who did it has no choice but to accept the consequences”…is it?”
Imeraria recited the words Hifumi said when leaving the royal palace. As she did, she felt a prickling pain in her heart once again. After all she was well aware that it had been her own choice that created this situation.
“The current situation is simply a recoil of all his actions. Even this situation is a result of his choices. …Don’t mind me. Puuse-san, please start.” (Imeraria)
“What are you saying!”
As Vepar tried to draw close to Imeraria, who gave her coldhearted opinion, she was kept in check by Sabnak who thrust himself between them.
“You plan to stop us here? The situation has advanced up to this point already.” (Imeraria)
Imeraria lifted her right arm, pointing at the plaza.
“Even if you were to stop Puuse-san and me, what will follow afterwards? Are you going to start an all-out war against the humans? Are you resolved to fight against Hifumi-sama, who would await you down the road?” (Imeraria)
“Let’s keep it at a trivial sacrifice. Puuse-san, you’re okay with this, too?” (Imeraria)
Puuse accepted it reluctantly. In her mind she had resolved herself to let Malfas get away if possible at all, but honestly spoken, if she were to deploy the barrier now, she didn’t know whether he would be in time before Hifumi got isolated.
Anyway, I have no choice but to start, Puuse grasped her wand tightly, and started the chant to materialize the barrier. Stopping at a size of allowing two or three people to be inside with Hifumi in the center, she assigned her mana towards the sturdiness of the barrier rather than its size.
Her mana streamed through the wand, and in the instant the invisible power arrived at Hifumi’s location, Puuse’s eyes met with Origa’s.
“…Oh. They have already started, eh?”
Hifumi, who had been giving an explanation to Alyssa while actually showing her the movements by dealing with a beastman using his claws and fangs, sensed the flow of a turbulent power at his feet.
Malfas, who had been continuously abused as sparring partner without receiving any significant injuries, was heavily gasping as he had already reached the limit of his stamina.
While he was breathing roughly, only his eyes were brightly glaring, but he was so tired that it was painful for him to lift his arms any longer.
“I think it’s about time. …Alyssa.” (Hifumi)
“I will teach you something nice at the end.” (Hifumi)
While casting a sidelong glance at Malfas, who had mustered his strength and was approaching while bearing his fangs, Hifumi clenched his fist.
“Living beings can die even without shedding blood.” (Hifumi)
Hifumi crouched down and slipped beneath Malfas, who had leaped at him while aiming for his throat.
Using Malfas’ momentum of falling for his own objective, Hifumi violently struck his fist against Malfas’ heart.
A vibration ran through Malfas’ body who had his chest hit strongly. His breastbone and ribs had suffered serious damage. And his heart fell in panic due to the unexpected shock.
Was he conscious? Or was it something else? Malfas widened his eyes and feebly collapsed after groaning once.
And he never moved again.
“A human body is sturdy and fragile. If this guy’s body had grown bigger or if his muscles had developed more, he might not have died from something like this.” (Hifumi)
Hifumi looked down at Malfas while thoroughly savoring the feeling of having stolen a life with his hand.
The corpse, which lacked any traces of being beaten, any cut wounds, and didn’t shed any blood, looked completely as if Malfas was merely sleeping.
“Alyssa, go.” (Hifumi)
An overly simple farewell.
There was no anger or smile to be found on Hifumi’s face. He looked directly at Alyssa.
“Hifumi-san…after all, together…” (Alyssa)
“No. I have entrusted a job to you.” (Hifumi)
“But…okay. I was selfish. Sorry. Umm, thanks. For saving me, for teaching me many things…it was fun! If I hadn’t met you…”
“No need for ifs.” Hifumi smiled at Alyssa who was frantically looking for words. “It’s the outcome of your choices. I told you when I applied the medicine, right? You should live as you like. Keep doing so even in the future. It’s your life. It doesn’t concern me.” (Hifumi)
“Ah…got it!” (Alyssa)
Alyssa, who thanked him once more at the end, left while cutting through the demons with her wakizashi as she kept looking back, looking reluctant to part.
“Good grief… Now then, I guess all that’s left is that one.” (Hifumi)
Once he looked up, Imeraria was intently looking his way, and next to her, Puuse was clinging to her wand with a desperate expression for some reason.
Hifumi, who was already aware of their goal, didn’t take any countermeasures even while feeling the mana spreading beneath his feet. No, he shook his left hand which was dyeing jet black.
The demons were still crowding the vicinity as before.
Hifumi, who erased a fireball hurled at him with his left hand, immediately found Origa.
“She kept up well, huh? Originally it would have been convenient to have her left that behind as well.” (Hifumi)
With her breathing starting to get shorter, Origa had been keeping the enemies in check with magic while focusing on range rather than power, and slaying the nearby enemies with her iron-ribbed fan.
The magic, which she had developed as her own after receiving a hint from Hifumi, has been only recorded in documents that are stored in Fokalore without anyone having been instructed in it. If she vigorously continued to spread her magic techniques in this world, it might change the way of wars once more as she was still young.
Moreover, it might head in a direction impossible for Hifumi’s original world. By chance, magic techniques, which would have been developed extensively, might become able to easily defeat even Hifumi.
“I guess I got to rely for the rest on the guys staying behind. However, even I feel irritated about being locked in so easily. Let’s see, how are you going to deal with this?” (Hifumi)
The barrier had become faintly visible. Hifumi recalled having seen it in the elven village, too. Seeing Vepar pull a complicated expression next to Imeraria, he involuntarily ended up laughing.
“It has a fairly bulky and cramped shape.” (Hifumi)
Once he touched it gently with his left hand, his fingertips sank deeply into the barrier.
“All…ey oop” (Hifumi)
Once he swung his left hand like that, the barrier was roughly scraped off.
Moreover, Hifumi drew his katana and attacked in a single stroke, unleashing a series of two downward slashes after cutting upwards against the barrier in front of him.
Matching it with the hole created by his left hand before, he tore open a big hole in the barrier.
Probably grasping the situation, Puuse looked panicked atop the balcony.
“Come on, you’re not believing that I will be simply locked in with just that, are you? What are you going to do against this katana in my hand?” (Hifumi)
Hifumi’s words and eyes were directly turned at Imeraria.