「What happened to Friedman…?」
「...He died a martyr」
「...Is that so. I’m definitely going to hell」
Hasim Kudo Lemuse. The third prince of Lemuse had set out from his country yesterday itself and was on his way to the place where the demon lords were.
What Hasim was leading at that point was the entire military of Lemuse. Only the cavalry could be seen around him and the infantry were still trying to catch up from a decent distance behind them.
There was no other choice. Hasim didn’t have enough time on his hands.
He had to make the horses run fast and catch up to the demon lords as soon as possible.
「Damn it! If that idiotic pig hadn’t struggled at the end…!!」
At the present moment, Hasim was reigning over Lemuse as the temporary king.
Although it’s called temporary but it’s just the fact that the coronation ceremony hadn’t been conducted yet and he was pretty much completely the 『king』.
The coup d’etat was a success.
He finally pulled his father off of that seat and with the consensus of the citizens, he himself ascended. The measures for the coup d’etat themselves weren’t really that difficult.
In Hasim’s opinion, getting the three kingdoms to ally with him was considerably harder.
Most of it went according to their original plan but――just one thing.
They took an unexpected counterattack.
Even Hasim didn’t expect to have such a counterattack against them from such an unexpected direction. That made Hasim lose some of his extremely precious time.
「To think they would kill the horses…! If they are that bloody foolish then it might have been better if they thought of a garbage dump as their royal palace and lived there! What the hell do you need to think of to end up at that conclusion!」
As if not to allow things to go the way Hasim wants it, the king of Lemuse used what few subordinates he had left and had them kill off the exhausted horses in the barracks. Not to mention, they used various other methods to get his hands on as many horses as possible.
He couldn’t even begin to guess the tenacity needed to do something like that nor did he know why his father had even thought of such a method.
Even the term madman would be too lukewarm for him.
「He’s a pest! He is definitely a plague on this planet!!」
Hasim was obviously infuriated. In his rage, he chopped off the arms of his father. After that he stepped on his father's face and shouted abuses at him. Even that wasn’t enough but just at that time, a report came in.
『Mūzeg’s cavalry were spotted coming from the north』 was what the report stated as well as,
『The demon lords showed up from the west』, the report stated.
Although they had been investigating as to what route the large army of Mūzeg would take but, with some human error mixed in as well, the entire picture was more or less wrapped in a haze. The progress report of the demon lords was the same as well. They confirmed both those situations at the same time.
An army that was advancing while wrapped in a dust cloud, coming from the wilderness to the northwest of Lemuse. From the west, running through the fields, having arrived considerably faster than expected, were the demon lords.
Hasim calculated the distance based on report in his mind. In addition to that, he took the speed of the two forces, that had been reported so far into account and mentally calculated their distance and time taken.
Hasim became flustered.
He became flustered for the first time.
――They’re too close to Lemuse.
In other words, they’re too far away from the three kingdoms.
The battlefield that Hasim had predicted was, in a very bad sense, about to come out true.
Over and above that, since they number of horses had reduced, there was a possibility that they wouldn’t be able to display their fastest possible speed. Even though they were already inferior in terms of ability but that had gone down even further.
That said, just holding his head won’t make the situation any better. Hasim immediately had swift horses dispatched and sent them to deliver messages to the three kingdoms.
『It’s fine even if your preparations are incomplete, send reinforcements immediately』
Of course, the actual message didn’t have such an impatient tone to it. He still had to consider the promise he made to Crisca.
If Mūzeg and the demon lords face each other on the battlefield then it could be a basis for arguing against his bluff during the Summit of Three Kings but, based on the situation, a certain amount of attention will need to be paid to it.
However, before such a worry about the future, if he doesn’t save the demon lords now, it would be pointless.
That should be their top priority.
The situations after that would happen however it should.
While thinking that, he prayed that they had all completed their preparations and had already left their countries to provide support.
After that, Hasim himself did the preparations that were required to depart immediately.
He summoned all the military personnel he could and even called people who had already retired.
Although most of them were people who had assembled because Hasim’s popularity but Hasim himself felt extremely apologetic towards them.
That was because young people like them, people of the royal family who should be in a position to protect Lemuse were calling back people of old age, who had once carried Lemuse on their backs, to once again stand on the battlefield.
Unworthy. Completely unworthy.
Even then Hasim hardened his heart and pulled them in. Then――
「I ended up letting them die. 『This is much better than having young people die』 saying stuff like that, the people who laughed, even though they themselves...in the future…」
Having heard Aisha’s report, Hasim spoke with an unmistakable gloom mixed into his tone. That might have possibly be the first time he showed such a depressed expression after having started the coup d’etat.
Hasim took the 『advice』 of those elderly people and sent several dozens of them ahead. Hasim was not able to stick out for them.
In the first place, even if temporary, he was the king. The king himself going out onto the battlefield was quite the exception in itself.
However, it was already a situation where they could never have enough people and Hasim himself couldn’t get himself to stay back in the current situation.
Therefore, he went towards the wilderness while being protected by a large number of soldiers.
While fixing the strange formation of Lemuse’s soldiers who were clearly not used to marching in such a say, they moved as fast as possible.
At that point, the elderly soldiers laughed and spoke up.
『We’ll go scout and be back, your highness. ――No, it should be your majesty now huh』
Hasim first reined them in. Aisha’s subordinates had already gone out to scout. However, the elderly soldiers shook their heads.
『Your majesty. Lady Aisha’s spies won’t be able to take any military actions while scouting if the situation ever called for it. In that kind of a situation, not being able to do anything could lead to matters of life and death』
Being told that straightforwardly with a strong gaze, Hasim had no choice but to nod. Although they might have never actively made it through a war but even then, as soldiers, they were excellent. Over and above everything else, it didn’t seem like they would withdraw their opinion.
『Your majesty, please teach the young soldiers some amount of strategy while you still have time. Though the amount of time is extremely limited but it’s better than not doing anything. ――Your majesty, you are excellent. Although it might be difficult for one person to handle both political warfare as well as combat but, if it’s your majesty, then I believe that you’ll definitely be able to manage』
Saying that, the elderly soldiers rode away on their horses. Hasim could do nothing but to stare at their retreating backs quietly.
「Were Friedman and the rest planning on dying from the very start, I wonder?」
「No, Hasim-sama. Those people are not the type who would give their lives up on their own. If that were not the case, I doubt they could have stayed alive so long」
「That’s...true. ...You’re rather strong, Aisha」
They had only learned about the death of those people right now. Aisha’s spies had brought back information about what lay ahead. That was also proof that the battlefield was nearby. Although Hasim thought of trying to lighten up the mood but his body tightened up in various meanings.
「Hasim-sama…, your hand please」
At that moment, Aisha who was riding right next to Hasim with her body wrapped in the black clothes same as her other spy subordinates, noticed the oddity in Hasim. Hasim had grasped the reins with his left hand and had formed a fist with his right hand.
From inside his fist――blood could be seen dripping down.
Aisha, who brought her horse right next to Hasim’s, put her hand on his fist and slowly freed each finger. His hand, which he had gripped into a fist with an amazing amount of strength had his nails dig into his skin and the palm of his hand was soaked in blood.
Hasim looked at Aisha’s face. There were no others around Aisha.
While he was rather unwilling, since he guessed that the report brought by Aisha’s subordinate was a 『negative report』, so he had them move slightly further behind him.
As Hasim was someone who could divide his rationality from his emotional side, his rationality had decided that it was better for that action.
Just at that time alone did Hasim feel that, that kind of self was rather unpleasant.
After such a long time. It’s quite late now but he thought of himself as a rather cool-headed.
In this era of confusion, he had no plans of being the singular voice of absolute morality.
However, if a majority of his ethical norms were looked at seriously them he was sure to come off as a cruel man.
He thought that seriously.
At any rate, in the current situation, if he spoke in a low voice then Aisha would be the only one who would hear him.
For but a moment,
Hasim almost started whining. He immediately noticed what he was about to do.
Hasim stopped himself in the end. He didn’t say anything, he couldn't say anything. Since he impulsively thought of himself in a subjective manner which is why he was not able to say anything.
Aisha would definitely accept anything he has to say and would console him. However, should he really do that right now? Over and above anything else, is he in a position that is allowed to whine?
「――No, it’s nothing」
He wasn’t sure. However, right now, that wasn’t necessary. After several moments, he convinced himself of that.
He hasn’t been able to depart yet at all. If they didn’t manage to overcome the battle at the end of this prelude then Lemuse wouldn’t be a country that could even raise its head in the world.
The crying and the funerals would be after everything was over. He probably couldn’t let anyone listen to his crying though――
――You have decided so.
Hasim looked up ahead.
Finally, in the distance, he could see a mere 20 or so people facing off against several dozens of times as many people wrapped in black armour.
The black armour was the symbol of the strong nation. The people who were standing against them, in contrast were white.
Mūzeg’s color. A color similar to Lemuse.
Symbolic flag. Hair that strongly reminded you of the〈White Emperor〉.
That standoff was extremely reminiscent of a historical event. The standoff between black and white was a huge event that had once taken place in the past.
At that spot, he was about to intrude bearing the white flag.
――We are both arrogant.
Hasim thought in his mind.
――However, the place that we are aiming at is different from what you are aiming for. Which is why, I will――
Deny that arrogance.
Hasim wrapped a sharp blade around that thought and threw it at the black flag. He then spoke a few words aimed at a certain someone.
「What are you aiming for. Since that day, now that several days have passed, will I be able to hear your answer? ――『Brad』」
Those words were said in such a low tone that the sound was lost with the galloping of the horses.