Hot n’ Spicy
Ayperos’ corpse was laid out in an imposing coffin and donned gorgeous silken clothes.
He was put inside making sure that the stitches on his head didn’t stand out, but the out-of-place feeling couldn’t be eliminated after all.
Imeraria, staring at the corpse of her younger brother with eyes concealing her emotions, just sat motionlessly next to the corpse without showing any tears.
The room right next to the audience hall was a small room for the king to carry out secret and private talks. The coffin, placed on top of a pedestal with wheels attached for transporting it, is enshrined in the centre of the room. Imeraria is the only person sitting as there was only one chair set up to be in the coffin’s surroundings.
It was Prime Minister Adol who entered quietly into the room dominated by silence.
“… Excuse me.” (Adol)
As he bows towards Imeraria, who doesn’t show any reaction, Adol lowered his head, putting his right hand over his chest, after seeing the corpse of the prince.
As he moved according to the etiquette of polite condolences, Imeraria stood up silently and lightly bowed towards Adol as he left the room.
Adol, who saw her figure in the corner of his eyes, ends up escaping at a quick pace owing to the feeling of being unable to endure being there any longer.
Once he left the room while somehow or other remaining calm, he quietly breathed a sigh.
“An appearance of grief, isn’t it?” (Adol)
Before realising it, there was the face of the shinigami next to Adol.
“Don’t appear without permission. What will we do, if you are seen?” (Adol)
Even as Adol utters his words in a fluster, the shinigami doesn’t reply and simply laughs with a giggle.
“Won’t it be fine to offer the information about the return spell to princess soon as well?” (Shinigami)
“Don’t be foolish. With the current status of me not having yet found a single document, there’s no reason to report on the things told by an evil spirit like you.” (Adol)
The shinigami chased after Adol, who set off with his shoulders heaving in anger, while its legs are shaking and staggering.
“Offer hope to the hurt princess. Wouldn’t there be various troubles for you as well as the nation if the princess was dispirited?” (Shinigami)
Glaring at him with eyes full of annoyance, Adol entered the reference room.
“Stop pretending to be worried about this country when you’re nothing but an evil spirit. It’s unpleasant.” (Adol)
“Oh my! Although I may appear to be this way, I’m a god who earnestly aids people to survive.” (Shinigami)
“… What are you say despite calling yourself a shinigami?” (Adol)
Without shifting his sight, Adol searches for lithographs depicting the return spell and furthermore documents pertaining to similar magic. Having repeatedly used his hands in such way for god-knows how many days, he completely got accustomed to handling the lithographs.
“The souls of those eagerly striving to survive and having then died shine brightly.” (Shinigami)
Stopping his hands for an instant thanks to the words of the god of death, Adol muttered “what bad taste” and continued his search.
At any rate, Adol considers.
(I wonder what will happen to this country after sending home the person called Hifumi?) (Adol)
Although Orsongrande should probably aim to frantically survive with its current military gains as is, only because the person called Hifumi is an ally even if just for appearance’ sake, it is possible for this country to keep standing, even if many people lose their lives thanks to that.
However, Adol abruptly stopped moving his hands.
Even if Hifumi was suddenly gone, it wouldn’t mean that the wars started would end right away. Instead, with a part of its largest military strength gone, Orsongrande’s position will become agonizing.
(Even if he is transferred back to where he came from, if I pay attention to prepare for that in advance as well…) (Adol)
There’s no progress yet, thus this might be hasty though, Adol resumed moving his hands.
“Congratulations, Sabnak!” (Biron)
Biron raised his sake cup towards Sabnak, who sat in the seat of honor during the dinner organised by Earl Biron.
“Really, I never thought that such a knight would spring forth from my family’s home.” (Sister)
Sabnak turned his fed up sight towards his elder sister laughing loudly.
“Nee-san, aren’t you well aware that I’m not cut out for such official position?” (Sabnak)
“Ara, your head was always good since you were small. I wonder whether it isn’t better for you to have such a post rather than being at the actual site, especially as you are a greenhorn at swordsmanship?” (Sister)
Biron showed sympathy thanks to the cruel remarks, but Sabnak got used to the speech and conduct of not holding back anything of his elder sister since the old days.
“Anyway, with this, it became necessary for me to return to the royal castle ahead of time. That means, the Imperial Knight Order appears to have the role of taking care of royalty… though it is currently only Imeraria.” (Sabnak)
“Don’t worry about this place. It’s alright for you to return together with your other order members. With Earl Tohno’s support my troops will be alright as there probably won’t be any large battle any time soon.” (Biron)
Biron, aware of the situation at the border to Horant, assessed the least time likely necessary for Horant to raise a full-scale army to be this much.
“Sabnak, write a letter to father before you go back to the royal castle. I will match it with mine to be sent back home.” (Sister)
“That’s right. Since I will send a congratulatory letter to the unpopular father-in-law-sama as well, let’s send them together.” (Biron)
Sabnak ended up becoming slightly embarrassed due to the words of the married couple.
“Thank you very much.” (Sabnak)
The married couple also laughed and smiled seeing the bashful Sabnak.
Sabnak recalled the time he received congratulations for enlisting in the knight order the other day.
Even at that time it felt good to receive congratulations. After that he earnestly put effort into doing his job. Even after this promotion, he is prepared to face forward and get on with it.
“However, as it is my first time to be appointed to work at the castle, I will be nervous.” (Sabnak)
Slowly savoring the after-meal sake, Sabnak murmured.
“It will probably turn into a talk between men”, Sabnak’s elder sister excused herself temporarily.
“Rather than being a guard, there is likely the aspect of advising Imeraria-sama as well.” (Biron)
Hearing Biron’s words, Sabnak inclined his head to the side.
“Isn’t there the prime minister, Adol, if it’s about advising?” (Sabnak)
“That’s certainly true. But, if Imeraria-sama chose to only listen to his opinion, it would result in narrowing down her thinking. There isn’t only right or wrong. Thinking about various possibilities, hypothesizing results, you can state your own opinion that’s different from the prime minister’s and Imeraria-sama’s. I think you will be able to help as statesman, even if it’s only this much.” (Biron)
“Especially given that Imeraria is far too obedient as royalty, she will probably listen too often to the opinion of her surroundings”, Biron says.
Didn’t that invite Pajou’s death? Although that question crossed Sabnak’s mind for an instant, he was able to agree with Biron’s view in itself.
“I think it isn’t the sole task of a guard to offer his all as a shield. Someone called a truly superb guard doesn’t allow anyone, who is dangerous, to approach the person that ought to be protected, I believe.” (Biron)
Sabnak slowly nodded due to Biron’s words.
At the time the magician, who lost his consciousness thanks to being kicked in the stomach by Hifumi, woke up, he noticed that his body was restrained while grimacing due to the pain in his stomach.
“Oh! You woke up.” (Hifumi)
A voice was audible coming from the magician’s rear.
“The heck…” (Magician)
“I disposed of your other companions. I kept you alive because there are things I want to hear from you.” (Hifumi)
“Quite easy to understand, ain’t it?” The voice from behind says.
As his blurry vision at last became clear, he realized his state of being tied as if hugging the stump of a tree.
And he has also recalled the voice of the other party.
It’s Hifumi, the man who had sent him flying with a kick some time ago.
Even as he tries to turn his head backwards, it isn’t enough to see the other party’s face.
“Won’t your neck hurt if you recklessly try to face this way?” (Hifumi)
“… What’s your aim?” (Magician)
While feigning calmness as best as he could, he asked a question, but his voice ended up trembling a bit.
Unable to see the figure of the other party, his anxiety is further stirred up.
“I told you that I have questions. Won’t you not waste my time and hurry up answering them?” (Hifumi)
Even though he can’t be seen by the magician, there is one more person tied up. That being said, it isn’t good if he doesn’t listen to the words of that person either.
“Don’t screw around. I do know that you are an enemy…”
Desperately turning his head, the magician’s vision gets blurry in protest. A small iron lump is embedded into the tree stump in front of him.
Will my vision break off? It suddenly became hot.
“There are two choices. Talk and live or stay silent and die.” (Hifumi)
Due to the magician enduring the pain without answering, Hifumi laughed.
“First of all, the first question is: Where is the capital’s magic tool research institute?” (Hifumi)
A sharp pain pierced the right shoulder of the magician who had remained silent at Hifumi’s question.
Though he wasn’t able to see the person himself, a heated hoof was hammered into the shoulder.
“I told you to not waste my time, didn’t I?” (Hifumi)
In the end it took 30 minutes of doing the same thing repeatedly until the magician caved in and spilled all the information.
Hifumi, who learned the location of the research institute as well as the state of its defenses, cut the rope binding the magician with his katana while saying “Good work.”
The magician, exhausted to the degree of being unable to stand up, slowly slithers down to his knees while still clinging to the tree.
“It would have been best, if you had told me everything immediately.” (Hifumi)
Hifumi, who said this indifferently, averted his body after suddenly noticing something.
It’s the magician’s scream.
Hifumi, running without looking at that, clicked his tongue seeing the soldier from Horant, who ought to be tied up, rising to his knees.
“Are you an idiot? Do it before talking if you get killed due to being forbidden to speak.” (Hifumi)
While he says this, he kicks the soldier’s chin.
While the soldier is scattering spit and teeth, Hifumi steps on the chest of the backward-bent soldier. Hifumi thrust his katana in front of him.
“Well then, next it’s your turn.” (Hifumi)
“Fufu, there’s no way I will talk this easily.” (Soldier)
The boldly laughing soldier tried to thrust the sword, he held in his right hand, at his own throat. But he failed.
No sooner than the sound of cutting through the wind with a *fwish* was audible, the right hand, from the elbow to its end, dropped to the ground.
“Eh… ?” (Soldier)
“Did you think you could commit suicide that easily?” (Hifumi)
As if completely pinning the soldier’s body to the ground, the katana is stabbed into his left shoulder.
“Now then, it’s question time. … Did you know about me?” (Hifumi)
Raising his slit eyes, he faces the soldier with a freezing look.
“Seeing me caused several people to move strangely, don’t you agree? Or rather, didn’t you guys try to make me chase after you?” (Hifumi)
He thought they will end up staying there if there are magicians, but since they unnaturally were thrifty, they planned to escape while carrying the magicians away when the number of soldiers had decreased, Hifumi accused.
The soldier opened his eyes widely in surprise due to his speech.
Although he hurriedly denied it, Hifumi rather believed what he saw than what he said.
“I see…” (Hifumi)
Hifumi, who considered something for a moment, extracted his katana with a *slurp*
Ignoring the soldier who fainted in agony, he heads towards a separate place, where Origa’s group was waiting.
Some time during that period, he looked at the magician with a glance, but he had already died.
“Did you hear the location of the research institute? Since I will march into the royal castle by myself after this, snatch the magic tools during the time I’m causing a disturbance and return to Orsongrande.” (Hifumi)
“It’s fine if you do the aforementioned thing as you are returning to Fokalore,” Hifumi said.
“Understood. Please, be careful…” (Origa)
Hifumi gently smiled due to Origa’s anxious words.
“I haven’t yet played around in this world sufficiently. I can’t die yet.” (Hifumi)
Turning on his heel, Hifumi, looking down on the still in pain moaning soldier in front, suddenly takes out a magic potion from with his darkness magic and sprinkles it over the soldier with a *splosh*
The loped off arm didn’t reconnect, however the soldier, whose wounds fully closed up, was kicked away by Hifumi without understanding left from right.
Being smeared with dirt, the soldier, finally raising his head, pays attention to the cold voice of Hifumi.
“Well then, we will play tag up to the royal castle. Let’s have a contest whether you will be faster in clinging to your boss or whether I will be faster in bisecting you.” (Hifumi)
The soldier didn’t comprehend what Hifumi was talking about for a moment, but immediately coming to his senses, he stands up propping up his body with his remaining left hand and began to run while staggering about unable to attain proper balance.
“Looking good! It’s been a while since I ran!” (Hifumi)
Tossing the katana into his storage, Hifumi, ties the hem of his hakama and began to run once the distance to the soldier from Horant increased sufficiently.