“All troops, charge.”
Arist’s order was met with angry roars.
It was the roar of the demons that would break through the fifth fortress at any moment.
General Zasha, who had managed to separate from Arist for a moment, called out to us.
“We will help you!”
“Don’t, leave this place to us and go to the imperial capital!”
“Why? We can fight too!”
There was too much difference in numbers between the army of demons and this frontline force.
Most retreat battles are in favor of the pursuing side.
At this rate, General Zasha’s army would be wiped out.
“There’s no hope for our army already. However, if things continue like this, the imperial capital will be in danger. Convince Her Majesty Philine to abandon the imperial capital.”
Abandoning the capital.
The implications of that were incredibly heavy.
“Isn’t the imperial capital protected by a barrier?”
“That only works against demons. It has no effect against lower monsters.”
The attacking demon army was mostly composed of monsters.
If so many attacked, their sheer numbers would be unbeatable.
“This is a race against time. At this rate, tens of thousands of people in the imperial city will be overrun by the swarm of demons. At least that must be avoided at all costs.”
Claire-sama bit her lip in frustration at the general’s words.
The general continued.
“I will give you a few soldiers who can use teleportation. If you repeat the teleportation in succession, you will get to the imperial capital far faster than a fast horse. With both of you there, your group won’t die on the way. This is for the best.”
“But then you…”
General Zasha smiled at Claire-sama’s words.
He had a look of determination in his eyes.
”It is the duty of an Imperial soldier to protect the lives of his people. We have been doing nothing but harming people in other countries, and now we have finally been given the task of saving lives. Let us carry it through.”
Claire-sama became speechless.
It was probably because she knew she couldn’t stop the general.
“Let’s go, Claire-sama. It would be all for nothing if we stayed here.”
I said as I went around in front of Claire-sama, placing my hands on her shoulders and looking into her eyes.
After a short but incredibly profound struggle, Claire-sama said to General Zasha.
“General, it was a short time, but it was an honor to fight with you.”
“It was an honor to fight with you as well.”
“I will never forget the soldiers who sacrificed their precious souls to save their people’s lives.”
“I’m grateful, revolutionary maiden. Now go.”
We were pressed to leave.
“I won’t let you get away, Claire François.”
Arist kicked the soldiers away and went after her.
“Not so fast. You’re not getting past this point.”
General Zasha stood in his way.
“What is the defeated general doing now?”
“Certainly, we will lose. It’s a total loss.”
“Then be quiet and get out of my way.”
“But you see–”
An intense magical power rose from General Zasha’s entire body.
“Today’s defeat will lead to victory later. We may lose, but mankind will not be defeated.”
“Hum… Looks like I’ll have some fun.”
It was the last time I saw the general.
At that time, he appeared like a warrior fighting for the survival of humanity.
The news of the Inferno misfiring made a stir in the interim allied forces.
“They’ve done it now.”
Manaria-sama was light-hearted as usual, but there was a look of impatience in her eyes that she couldn’t hide.
“… It was my error. Forgive me.”
Even Dorothea, who was usually arrogant and irreverent, only apologized this time.
If she had been more attentive to the crown princes, this situation could have been prevented.
But there was no point in saying such things now.
“That aside, about abandoning the imperial capital. Is that even possible?”
I said the question I had been thinking about.
The capital is the heart of the country.
It would be one thing if it was a provincial city, but would it be possible to abandon the heart of the country so easily?
“Since the empire borders the demon territory, we have contingency plans to abandon the imperial capital. We’ve also held regular evacuation drills for that purpose.”
”But I’m sure there will be chaos if we actually abandon the Imperial City completely. There are many people who are attached to this land. There must be many, especially the old ones, who would be willing to sacrifice themselves for this land.”
Philine and Dorothea provided me with an explanation.
They were basically saying we wouldn’t be able to save everyone.
“We don’t have time. We can’t evacuate everyone, but we need to get the ones who want to live out of here.”
“We need to shelter them somewhere too. It’s a hard choice, but we have to accept them in Baur.”
“No, Your Majesty. Bauer is too far from here. I believe it would be best to have them dispersed across other cities in the empire.”
His Majesty William’s words were followed by His Majesty Sein and Dor-sama.
“Putting that aside, isn’t the first issue how to announce it to the people of the imperial capital? If it’s communicated badly, won’t people panic?”
What Claire-sama said was right.
The imperial capital Raum was a large capital.
The number of people living there was also enormous.
If we were going to abandon the imperial capital and flee, we had to at least make sure people would act with a certain degree of calmness.
“I will address them. Philine is the current empress, but this burden is too much.”
Dorothea said something unusually admirable.
Perhaps in her own way she felt responsible for the misfire of the Inferno and the death of the crown prince.
“No… I will address them. Please let me do it.”
Philine’s face as she said that was filled with confidence and determination.
The imperial capital had an emergency broadcast network that used wind magic – telepathy.
It was rarely used, only at the time of the annual evacuation drill, and now it emitted the sound that signaled the start of the broadcast.
The people of the imperial capital were surprised.
“Dear citizens of the empire, I am the Empress Philine Naa. This is not a drill. I repeat. This is not a drill.”
There was dignified gravity in Philine’s voice.
It wasn’t something that would overwhelm others like Dorothea, but her voice made you feel like you had to straighten yourself and listen.
“Currently, the demon army is approaching the imperial capital from the east. Imperial soldiers are fighting back, but there is no guarantee they will be able to repel them.”
At that point, the people understood what kind of broadcast it was.
It was the warning about an impending danger to the imperial capital.
“To protect the lives of the imperial citizens, we, the imperial family, have decided to temporarily evacuate the people of the imperial capital.”
Commotion spread through the imperial capital.
Evacuate the imperial capital?
Is this reality?
I heard such voices all over the place.
“This evacuation is not something permanent. We’ve summoned the imperial army that was spread across the whole country to the imperial capital. As soon as we repel the demon menace, you will all be able to return to the imperial capital.”
With those words, the people of the Imperial City felt a little bit of relief.
What it meant they’d eventually be able to return.
Even so, there were still many people resistant to that idea.
”I repeat. This is not a permanent abandonment of the imperial capital. However, in order for our imperial army to use its full strength, it is essential that everybody evacuates the imperial capital for the time being. I ask for your cooperation, not to escape from the demons, but to repel them.”
Philine skillfully led human hearts.
We are not fleeing from the demon attack.
We are helping the imperial army drive away the demons, is what she was saying.
“The empire has fought demons for a long time and never allowed them to invade so far. I apologize for the burden placed on the people of the imperial capital. I am sorry.”
The empress’s heartfelt apology – that hadn’t been possible when Dorothea was the empress – strongly moved the hearts of the people of the imperial capital.
Unlike Dorothea, who had made people safe when they entrusted everything to her, the current empress made everybody feel like she needs their strength.
“However, the empire will win. I will not let even slightest harm befall the people of the imperial capital. I am forced to inconvenience you for now, but as the empress I swear that in a few month’s time your life will return to as it is now.”
Many people were relieved by Philine’s promising declaration.
The current empress wasn’t unreliable.
If Dorothea had been the empress that ruled from above, Philine was the empress who was among her people.
“We, the empire, have been scared of the demon threat for a long time. However, it’s time to end that. Please help us, the imperial family, and let’s exterminate demons this time.”
The emergency broadcast ended with a few words.
“I, the empress of the empire, Philine Naa, declare the beginning of the war to exterminate demons.”