Since their decision to prepare for war in only a short while, Hifumi’s daily life became quite busy.
He had to train the formation of the troops, prepare the equipment, design a strategy, and in addition read up on the documents related to Fokalore and its surrounding settlements after having become the new feudal lord of the area. He had to come up with the future political measures, too.
“Maa, what will happen, will happen. The problem is the unaccounted-for expenditures. The question is how to handle it well in order to avoid bankruptcy…” (Hifumi)
Monopolizing one of the several conference rooms within the royal castle, Hifumi, without leaving the royal capital by even one step, passed his time performing his official duties from there.
Today there were 5 slaves he had purchased a few days ago from Ular within that room.
The slaves, who were suddenly brought to the royal castle, were driven by anxiety while they were assigned to different rooms split by gender. These hectic and severe circumstances were also caused by Hifumi, who without giving them any kind of instructions, had them do nothing but eating a gorgeous meal and sleeping.
And then, on the next day, after having seen the listings in the accounting book of income and expenditure of the Viscount’s territory, which was delivered by Sabnak, who had been dispatched to the territory of the former Viscount Hagenti, Hifumi called for an assembly first thing in the morning.
“First of all, please sit down properly. Ah, not on the floor but on a chair.” (Hifumi)
He called out to the slaves who didn’t know whether such action would be fine and thus remained standing stock still. After confirming that everyone was seated, he distributed several bound paper bundles to all of them by tossing them.
“Well then, now I will explain the work you are supposed to do for me. Well, although that’s what I am saying, in a short while I will be going to war. In the meanwhile you will learn the things written on those papers.” (Hifumi)
“Ano, master … what are these?” (Slave A)
To the question asked by a single female slave in a small voice, Hifumi replied with a serious look,
“Those are the textbooks I made for you.” (Hifumi)
Hifumi had written down the methods concerning calculation by division, multiplication by using multiplication tables, percentage calculation, and calculation of size and volume. He also included a simple way of recording an account book. (E: He made a For Dummies math edition? Genius!)
Those were subjects which weren’t used by anyone but scholars in this world.
Because they would be mostly dealing with taxes such as poll taxes, he didn’t go as far as including difficult calculations.
Something like percentage was introduced by Hifumi for the first time in this world.
“I want you guys to work as civil officials in my new territory. For that reason, this is the least amount you have to learn.” (Hifumi)
Tapping on the documents with his fingers, he said this to all of them while surveying their expressions.
“Ci-Civil O-Officials? Even though were are slaves …” (Slave B)
“If I can use them, it doesn’t matter whether they are commoners or slaves. I only went to Ular’s shop because it was the quickest and easiest way to gather talented personnel. If I meet another qualified fellow somewhere, I intend to employ them whenever possible.” (Hifumi)
After having listened properly to the speech you could call an explanation concerning the contents, the slaves frantically glared at the documents.
They were worried what kind of treatment they would receive if they failed here.
The entire morning was spent on coaching the slaves. Afterwards it changed into self-study.
Quickly finishing his lunch, Hifumi left the castle and headed towards the training school in the back of the barracks.
Although calling it a training school, it was really nothing more than an excessively spacious vacant plot you wouldn’t expect to find within a city.
100 soldiers and Olga’s group were waiting there when he finally arrived.
“All units, line up!”
Raising a cloud of dust by their movement, 100 people straightened their backs.
The soldiers of each unit were already informed on their unit by official papers.
The first unit was compromised of infantry, the second unit of combat engineers, and the third unit of scouts.
Each unit consisted of 30 soldiers.
The other 10 soldiers belonged to the supply corps.
Up until now the division in Orsongrande was simply whether one was infantry or cavalry and whether they were nobles or commoners. Thus such organisation of troops caused bewilderment. However, Hifumi wasn’t worried about this matter in the slightest and simply ended it with the few words 「It works well, so we will do it like that」.
“Speaking frankly, because we intend to use the beginning of the war as training, be at ease and come along. Since I will kill the enemies, it is fine for you to just remember your own duties during the various military maneuvers.” (Hifumi)
As Hifumi gave such speech as substitute for a greeting, it obviously caused a commotion among the soldiers.
Even if there was a noble telling them to go to their death, that noble wouldn’t do it in such an easygoing manner.
“Hifumi-san, won’t the morale of the troops drop, if you put it like that?” (Kasha)
Having been released from the slavery contract, Kasha, who finally got used to the changed way to address him, smiled wryly.
The role of captain leading the first unit of infantry was entrusted to her.
“It’s fine. As it is often said, the will to act on something until death or to not do it, has nothing to do with having or not having morale. Especially since the combat engineers and transportation corps are positioned in the center and will be guarded by the foot soldiers, they will probably have a lot of free time.” (Hifumi)
Disregarding Kasha, who became sullen with such rejection, he started to explain to each unit their main duties and methods. Because of that, the second unit gathered close by. The other units were ordered to rush and dig holes while waiting for their turn.
With Origa in the lead, the second unit consisting of combat engineers assembled and stood in a line before Hifumi.
“Is there anyone with combat experience among you?” (Hifumi)
Because of Hifumi’s question, several people raised their hands. Listening to the battle circumstances of each of them in order, it turned out that they were similar for all of them.
To put it simply, the style was for the opposing parties to meet up on a plain, have their troops form lines and the let them clash simultaneously just like that.
Before the clash, each of the opposing commanders decided upon some kind of rule.
Among the engineers, there were some who participated in battles with the beastmen race. The beastmen surrounded them, who were advancing in a file, only to quickly strike them to decrease their numbers before fleeing the field. (T/N: hit-n-run)
Hifumi ended up being greatly perplexed.
He didn’t imagine the battles taking place to be nothing more than only such plain maneuvers.
In relation to the combat circumstances, you probably had to praise the beastmen race as superior all the way.
“I understand. Forget about all the combat experience you obtained up until now. Your duty is to prepare in order to win the war easily. You won’t hear from me such words as Line up in a row and charge.” (Hifumi)
“Prepare in order to win the war easily?” (Origa)
Origa, who stood in front, inquired in place of the baffled soldiers.
“Yes. I will now explain in what way we will be attacking the first town, so listen well.” (Hifumi)
From then on Hifumi explained to each unit what their duties were and which things they had to arrange. Furthermore he taught them the training schedule until the departure.
“Since I will only be able to come and see occasionally, the captains have to manage things firmly.” (Hifumi)
Although Alyssa vigorously answered, the soldiers of the scout unit, which she commandeered, weren’t in a calm state at all.
The draft was for them to promptly seize the information about the enemy’s strategy.
Although that was only to be expected, it wasn’t performed in this world at all.
While listening to the talks of their combat experience, Hifumi considered that the beast race may use scouting, but since the enemies this time around where of the human race, he pushed these considerations into the corner of his mind.
“Well, since I am leaving now, I entrust it to you.” (Hifumi)
Although he was a man, who before long would officially become a viscount, he casually didn’t take any attendants with him and left for the castle town.
The coming and going within the castle didn’t only include civil officials and knights, as it was the political center of the nation there were naturally a great number of high ranking nobles as well.
Many of them knew who Hifumi was and what he did on the day he came to this world.
Or rather, they witnessed his actions.
When they heard that Hifumi left the royal capital, they felt relieved for a brief time. Immediately after hearing that he would return then again, they wondered what kind of mistake it was this time for him to receive the treatment of a hero and become a viscount.
For the nobles, who were proud of their lineage, they thought of him as an intolerable greenhorn deep within their hearts, although they didn’t tell him that when they met him face-to-face.
On the contrary, they feared they would be the next ones to be killed by Hifumi if he heard of them speaking incautiously. Thus the topics gathering about Hifumi were only very few.
However, there was nowhere a person who wouldn’t be interested in receiving information.
“Your Highness the Princess, appointing the man called Hifumi to a responsible post is a little bit too much, in my humble opinion …” (Debordo)
Visiting Imeria’s office, a male courteous retainer performed a bow while stating this. It was a man called Debordo who was the second son of the Marquis Müntzer household, which governed the territory adjourning south of Orsongrande’s royal capital.
(Truly a humble opinion, huh?) (Imeria)
Imeria almost ended up revealing what she was thinking as she watched Debordo while he was repeatedly criticizing Hifumi in front of her eyes.
By nature Debordo had a character that looked down on other people. Since he didn’t have the corresponding ability to support his father in his work as Marquis, he earned the rank of vice captain of the third knight corps, which caused his inclination to grow even stronger.
It wasn’t like the reason for that was his skillful handling of the sword, nor could you say that he was superior in his business either. Rather he was tossed into that place so he wouldn’t cause harm to his surroundings for the time being. As he hadn’t any experience as regimental soldier either and yet became vice captain just like that, he was under the impression that it was due to his excellent constitution.
“That gentleman is the hero of this country now. Receiving him coldly will provoke the masses into a revolt. Besides, while the trouble with Vichy is taking place, his strength will be essential in order to settle it.” (Imeria)
“Something like the opinion of the masses, to say nothing about the fact that we are nobles, there is no need for Her Highness the Princess who is of royalty to do them any favors.” (Debordo)
Is that guy really saying this? Imeria thought.
Viscount Müntzer is truly fortunate that Debordo isn’t the eldest son.
The eldest son, who was a stepchild, was the type who handled everything flawlessly without standing out while doing so.
Debordo’s tongue is often moving. (T/N: He talks/boasts about himself too much as proverb, I guess.)
“Please leave the matter of Vichy to me, then such things like a war will be finished in no time for certain.” (Debordo)
Debordo’s intentions are easy to understand. Imeria judged.
Resolving the friction with Vichy, which was caused by Hifumi’s actions to begin with, he was intending to ask for Imeria’s hand in marriage as reward for such an achievement.
His biggest rival, the eldest son of the Marquis Lagrain household, had died. Apparently he considered himself “on his own accord” to be the strongest candidate.
“Well then, let’s leave this duty to him.” (-)
It wasn’t Imeria who called out to Debordo.
It was Hifumi, who came and entered the office performing an unnatural bow while smiling with a broad grin.
“You bastard, who do you think you are! Currently I am about to be appointed to an important mission by Her Highness the Princess!” (Debordo)
Debordo, who advanced matters arbitrarily, shouted, causing Imeria to sigh now.
In spite of blaming Hifumi earlier, he didn’t even know the face of his opponent.
“It is the Hifumi from the topic just now. Leaving that aside, Imeria.” (Hifumi)
“What is it?” (Imeria)
“I dare say that this guy’s suggestion is a rather nice idea, don’t you think?” (Hifumi)
“B-Bastard! How dare you to speak like this to Her Highness the Princess!” (Debordo)
Being disgraced for not having known Hifumi’s face, Debordo, who turned red from the neck upwards due to anger, raised his voice loudly and tried to thrust Hifumi away. But the power he used to push the shoulder was used upon himself in return and he ended up falling to the floor.
“What a rude behaviour towards a marquis!” (Debordo)
“What are you talking about when you fell on your own? Furthermore, since you aren’t the successor, you shouldn’t use the name of the Marquis household either.” (Hifumi)
“Gu gu” (Debordo) (E: Nonsensical stuttering)
Finally reaching the limit of her patience, Imeria interjected before Debordo, whose dark red blood rose to his head, was able to spat out his next words.
“Müntzer, right now Hifumi-sama and I are talking. Restrain yourself.” (Imeria)
“B-Bu-But …” (Debordo)
“I won’t repeat myself.” (Imeria)
Having been told quite clearly, Debordo left the office while glaring at Hifumi as if he could kill him with no more than that.
“So, what kind of business do you have with me, Hifumi-sama?” (Imeria)
“I want to get your signature for this document.” (Hifumi)
With these words, Hifumi took the document out of the dark magic storage and passed it to Imeria, who took it while frowning.
“… Let me look at it.” (Imeria)
As for the document, it was Orsongrande’s request for reconciliation with the demand to hand over the spy Beirevra as suspect of the incident. This action was required before any kind of negotiation could be considered to begin.
“… Just this demand, this document substantially has no agreement at all.” (Imeria)
“Although I thought about it for a while, I couldn’t come up with any idea how to have Vichy discover and arrest Beirevra. I think this document will corner Vichy to a certain degree by sending it to the fellows in the central government.” (Hifumi)
“As soon as it is delivered it will give Vichy a reason to keep up appearance, right?” (Imeria)
“If they comply, that is, but …” (Hifumi)
Hifumi sat down in the reception prepared in the office and tossed one of the baked sweets, which were placed on the table, into his mouth.
The sweetness gently spreads within my mouth, as one should expect of the purveyor of the princess, it is truly refined.
“That’s what you are saying, but you still intend to look for Beirevra.” (Imeria)
“I am a kind master, don’t you agree?” (Hifumi)
Even though that was the cause, he laughed as he stated it.
“Every person lives by killing, be it directly or indirectly, as they grow up. In their case, they were accidentally involved in the deceiving and cheating between human parties and thus they only decided to conclude this matter by killing the other party. Only in regards to the search, he is a troublesome opponent. Considering this, I only thought that it might be fine for it to become a popular odd job, if a useful reward was to be provided.” (Hifumi)
Looking at Hifumi, who threw another of the baked sweets into his mouth, Imeria picked up the quill and signed the document.
“In such a case I will gladly cooperate with you.” (Imeria)
While gently blowing upon the document for the sake of drying the ink, she murmured in a voice where it was uncertain whether he had heard it or not.
And then 10 days passed and the the preparations were finished. Hifumi’s expeditionary force left the royal capital towards Vichy.
Doing it the usual way, he would have left the city magnificently drawing the gazes of the public upon themselves. Since that wasn’t Hifumi’s intention, they split up in several teams and left the city inconspicuously advancing on the main road before the night was lifted by dawn.
Such things like food and materials had been transported to the city Fokalore which was situated close to the national border. The luggage consisted of most of the soldier’s weapons and there were many wagons drawn by the Supply Corps sheltering a large amount of food.
In the first carriage Hifumi and Origa’s group, the three captains, were situated alongside Pajou who acted as the Princess’ representative and witness.
“… I am getting sleepy.” (Alyssa)
“The sun hasn’t risen yet either …” (Kasha)
Apparently Alyssa and Kasha weren’t yet fully awake.
Given that they will set a bad example to others as captains, it was the right decision to toss them into the first carriage, Hifumi assessed.
“Upon entering Fokalore, we will stop there for a night and then set out in the early morning again. Review the contents of the strategy properly.” (Hifumi)
“Um … It is the first time for me hearing of something like “strategy” but …” (Pajou)
For the knight Pajou Hifumi’s method of drafting seemed to feel awkward.
“There is no particular reason for you to do anything. Besides, concerning the general populace I am not overly interested in becoming something like a statesman. Even if I provoked animosity from the beginning, I realized that there are no obstacles in my own way of life, only that we would be chased for our life in a blink of an eye like that.” (Hifumi)
“But …” (Pajou)
Stopping what she was about to say, Pajou looked into the eyes of Hifumi.
There were no friendly feelings there.
Just as he displayed on that night where they met for the first time, there was only deep dark and gloomy darkness as he killed people at that time.
“I won’t tell you that I am fighting for the sake of improving this nation or for its people. Just that there is nothing better than an abundant territory to satisfy my desire to fight. Although I don’t mind if you aim for such a country, but if you become a hindrance to me, I will kill you.” (Hifumi)
It had been a while since she had to face Hifumi’s bloodlust. Pajou didn’t even manage to sweat.
With a dry throat she was gasping to breathe painfully.
Somehow she managed to utter a few words without averting her gaze.
“… I, I will only witness this battle.” (Pajou)
“That’s how it is and that’s how it should be.” (Hifumi)
Finishing this talk, Hifumi jumped off the moving carriage and while running parallel to it, he skilfully climbed on his horse.
After Hifumi was gone, the heavy air within the carriage become a little bit lighter.
Origa called out to her as she was drinking water from a leather flask.
“… What’s up?” (Pajou)
“Pajou-san, you never been hostile to Hifumi-sama, isn’t that right?” (Origa)
The style of that question itself was a warning.
Without hesitation, Pajou replied.
“Since I am a knight of Orsongrande, I have to follow my duty.” (Pajou)
“Really? In case this duty causes you to become a hindrance to Hifumi-sama … please be aware of the fact that not only Hifumi-sama will become your enemy.” (Origa)
Closed in among the sleeping Alyssa and Kasha, Pajou wanted to transfer to riding a horse too.