- Cirdan Lunae
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With a sword in one hand and carrying baggage under his other arm, he slowly opened the door in front of him.
He would never foolishly kick open a door, nor cut it down. Thoughtlessly making noise and provoking the undead that could be potentially lurking around was something he wanted to avoid. The same applied to attracting attention from his surroundings.
It would still be manageable if it were only a bunch of ordinary Imperial Soldiers that had been transformed into undead fighters, but he preferred to not find himself in a fight against skilled opponents. His reluctance was amplified by the fact that he was carrying something that he could not simply throw out.
He took a whiff of the air around him with a sniff, then grimaced at the stench of rusty iron wafting from the inside of the room.
It was the smell of blood. Once one becomes used to it, distinguishing its freshness becomes more or less easier. The aforementioned odor was induced by recently spilt blood, and it did not come from just one person at that.
As expected, upon investigating the furthermost room, there were two bodies piled up atop of each other.
Left behind in the single house facing the main street, there were the corpses of an old woman and a man.
The perpetrator must have been the undead that he had chopped down in front of the house right before this. It was none other than because these corpses were freshly made that the sword in its hand had been drenched in blood.
The victims were presumably parent and child. Unfortunately, their expressions during their last moments could not be described as serene, so he was not able to compare their facial features. The old woman was lying on the bed, and the man seemed to have fallen on top of her as if he were placing himself over her, a broken sword lying beside him.
???: [They couldn’t escape in time… No, it’s something else.]
The composition of the scene was not two people who failed to escape in time, but a son who had stayed behind to protect his mother because she was unable to run.
To intuitively perceive the display as such was far too ironic for it to have occurred in the Imperial Capital, which stood at the heart of the Vollachian Empire, a place where it was only natural for the weak to be trampled upon.
Nevertheless, he could not laugh at the irony. If only he had arrived a few minutes earlier…
Placing his drawn sword back into its sheath, he silently gazed upon the corpse of the man who had decided how he would use his own life in the midst of a visit from an inevitable tragedy.
If he had been placed in the same situation, would he have been able to fight until his life was depleted like this man, with his back to the bed where his dearest family laid upon?
???: [It’s pointless, the answer’s obvious.]
He spat irritatedly, ridding himself of the bitter glob of saliva with a lingering revulsion that did not disappear.
Yes, it was a question for himself with an obvious answer. It was self-evident that he would turn tail and run off, regardless. ――The moment he ridiculed himself in that manner.
????: [Heeey, redhead! Where are ya!? I got my business done!]
Suddenly, he heard a tremendously loud voice coming from outside of the building, and his head shot up to look at the window.
The ruddy face that he had gone separate ways with surfaced in his memory, and he felt himself sober up as the blood drained from his face at the recklessness of raising one’s voice in this undead-infested city.
His head clobbered by the weight of reality, which he was not able to brush off with the drunkenness he had inflicted upon himself by drinking and drinking, on and on, he clicked his tongue as he peered out of the window he had approached.
Just then, at the bottom of his line of sight, on the street there was a single blue-haired man in a wasou outfit searching for him while waving his hand―― no, next to him was a small silhouette in similar clothing. 
?????: [Where might you be, Dad’s companion! This area isn’t suitable for having a nice and long talk, so why don’t we move somewhere else where it’s easier to do so! That is, only if what Dad told me about having a companion isn’t a drunken illusion or a joke of the sort, of course!]
????: [Whoa now, how could ya say that? Saying those sorts of things after grabbing yer parent with ya… My child has grown into an ungrateful son. I wonder, I wonder! What went wrong with my parenting…!]
?????: [Nonono, it’s not your fault, Dad! You hardly ever raised me, after all!]
With those two noisy fellows bunched together, describing the ruckus as twice as loud would be a massive understatement.
Although there was a difference between being drunk on alcohol or drunk on oneself, upon hearing the voice that he knew belonged to an equally drunken man, the companion whom the two were on the search for―― Heinkel, held his head in his free hand.
As the throbbing headache from his hangover kicked up a fuss about a pain caused by something other than the influence of alcohol, he adjusted his grip on the emergency food―― the hyena human, who had stirred in his grasp, and then let loose a deep sigh that reeked of liquor.
The two idiots continued to make a racket on the main street, unmindful of the fact they were out in public.
If he left them behind and they were consumed by the surging crowd of undead as a result, it could be chalked up as them reaping the consequences of their actions. However, since Heinkel did not want to be dragged into that process, he called out for them right away.
As the two were invited into the house in that fashion, an unexpected plus-one had come along with them.
???: [I didn’t expect you to be staying in the Imperial Capital, Heinkel-san. I thought you’d have already ran away, or if not, then…]
Heinkel: [Died, were you about to say? I’m going to say the same exact thing back to you, Aldebaran.]
Al: [Al, please.]
Al, the man in the steel helmet, responded upon their unanticipated reunion, while using a finger to fiddle with the metallic parts of his helmet.
During the all-out battle that had encompassed the Imperial Capital between the regular army and the revolutionaries, Heinkel, as a part of the rebel faction, had been deployed to a separate battlefield from Priscilla and Al, so he was not aware of the outcome of the battle, nor their well-being.
An answer he had no means of knowing even if he wanted to. By chance, it had been brought to him.
In addition to it――,
Heinkel: [So Miss Priscilla’s been captured, huh. It’s a bit hard to believe.]
Al: [Well, charging headfirst into unexpected developments is a part of Princess’s troublesome charm, but this time, even I feel like I shouldn’t leave her on her own. So, I ended up staying in the Imperial Capital, but…]
Heinkel: [Then, you came across that bunch.]
Al nodded at Heinkel’s words with a, “Yeah.”
He was covered with his steel helmet, rendering both his expression and facial complexion unknown, but Heinkel could infer the extent of the hardship that Al had been wrung through from the tiredness in his tone and his overall mood.
Al was someone who could get along with Priscilla, the living embodiment of outrageous and haphazard behavior. If he was reduced to such a state, then Heinkel could easily guess the dreadfulness of who he had been dealing with.
Regardless, meeting the person who had made Al utterly exhausted was also a strange turn of fate.
???: [Well, well, I didn’t expect to have a reunion with you in a place like this, Dad. I thought I hadn’t seen you around for a while, but could it possibly be you who threw me into the Gladiator Island and plotted for me to play a role in a story about the legend of the island or something like that?]
Chattering away and lining up one sentence after another at breakneck speed, the boy who munched down on the dried meat he had arbitrarily brought out from the house’s storage cabinet―or Cecilus, as he called himself—was the son of Rowan, who had been tagging along with Heinkel, much to his astonishment.
On top of that, it might as well be some sort of joke, but Cecilus’s full name, including his family name was――,
Heinkel: [――Cecilus Segmunt. The Blue Lightning of Vollachia.]
The Vollachian Empire’s strongest swordsman, and the immovable First of the Imperial Nine Divine Generals.
No matter how far he had fallen, Heinkel was still the Deputy Commander of the Kingdom of Lugunica’s Royal Guards. He at least knew the names of famous figures from their insidious neighboring country.
Peerless even within the blood-soaked history of the Empire, he was the individual who had taken the most lives in this world, and was also said to be someone so powerful he was a rival to the Kingdom’s Sword Saint.
Heinkel narrowed his eyes at Cecilus, who looked roughly around eleven or twelve years old, and scorned himself for even thinking about making light of his capabilities just because of his youth.
For the truly powerful beings, topics such as their appearance and age were simply nonsensical and would leave one with nothing but misery.
When Heinkel had first lost to his son, Reinhard, with the sword, it was before he had turned six years old. ――In this world, those kinds of entities existed.
If anything, Heinkel had to admit that someone like Rowan was a rarity for him.
Similarly to Heinkel, if he was also the father of someone proclaimed to be the strongest, then having his own reservations regarding the sword skills and fame of his son, Cecilus, would be――,
Rowan: [Hahaha, yer making me laugh. The battles to the death on the Gladiator Island are just exhibitions in the end, so ya won’t learn anything for yer sword or technique no matter who or how many people ya cut down in that place. Dumping ya in that kinda place’d be nothing more than a detour in yer path to reaching the Heavenly Sword.]
Indifferent to the thoughts rearing their ugly head within Heinkel, the ruddy-faced Rowan shrugged his shoulders as he brought the booze-filled gourd to his mouth, seemingly in high spirits as he conversed with his son.
Cecilus replied with an, “Oh, I see then,” not appearing the slightest bit worked up by it, tilting his head as he bit off a piece of the dried meat.
Cecilus: [Well, I did suspect that wasn’t the case because the direction of that sort of method wasn’t clear at all for someone like you. But then, it becomes more of a strange, strange mystery because I don’t understand why I was on the island at all.]
Rowan: [Now, that’s gotta be another odd, bizarre, and unusual way to put it. Anyway, it wasn’t arranged by me… Hmm?]
Rowan took a pause in the middle of his sentence, then gave Cecilus a long stare from head to toe.
Noticing his father’s gaze, Cecilus caused the sleeves of his wasou outfit to sway back and forth, performing a twirl that made his long, untied blue hair spread out.
Cecilus: [What’s the matter? Even if it’s been a long time, I would think it’s difficult to forget the brilliance of the leading actor that I am.]
Rowan: [Apart from that, wait a minute, Son! Where’d ya put Murasame and Masayume? Such fine swords aren’t meant to be removed so carelessly from yer waist.]
Cecilus: [“Fine swords”? Do you mean katana by that? What are you saying? There’s an unspoken agreement between you and me where I won’t hold a katana, and also that you won’t let me hold one either until I obtain a blade worthy of me. Woefully, my waist remains light because I still haven’t come across an exceptional katana I’ve been looking for. Shaky, shake!]
Rowan’s eyes became increasingly cloudy with suspicion as Cecilus continued shaking his weaponless hips. Eventually, his eyes widened with an, “Ah,” as if he had made sense out of the situation.
Rowan: [Upon giving ya a careful look ‘cause of this feeling of strangeness, whaddya have here? Cecilus, ya shrunk down in height!]
Al: [You realize that now!?]
Al raised his voice at the surprised Rowan, having been hit with a feeling of bewilderment that went beyond his surprise.
Next to him, the Cecilus in question echoed, “Shrunk?” with a clueless expression. Needless to say, Heinkel also had no idea of what was going on.
In his place, Al, who looked like he had an idea, closed the distance between himself and Rowan with brisk steps,
Al: [I want to make this clear, so you’re Cecilus’s dad, and the Cecilus you know was really an adult. That’s correct, right?]
Cecilus: [Please wait, Al-san, I’m not sure about that. In the first place, I wonder when and at what kind of timing are humans able to say that they became an adult? For example, if someone cut down another person for the first time, and if you don’t consider them as full-fledged, then it would make it so that the person who had been cut down was killed by someone who is only half-baked, so I feel as if this is a meaningless discussion…]
Al: [You shut up for now! So, what about it, old man?]
Rowan: [Ya don’t hafta press me that hard, helmeted sir. Firstly, from the eyes of a parent, even if their kid’s grown somewhat taller, they’ll always stay in the kid category, ya know. Besides, when it comes to Cecilus, that one’s words and actions never matured a bit from when he was a kid, no matter how much time passed…]
Al: [I’ve heard enough of the fact that you two are parent and child…!]
Bombarded with responses comparable to an avalanche by Rowan, who he had drawn closer to, and Cecilus, who was next to him, Al stomped the ground as if he was venting out his pent-up anger.
Heinkel felt sorry for him, scratching his own red hair roughly,
Heinkel: [So, Albebaran. Is this what you want to say? Cecilus Segmunt over there shrunk down and became a child for some reason.]
Al: [It’s Al… Well, I know everything about how it happened and how to undo it, but yeah.]
Heinkel: [You know how to undo it, too…?]
It sounded absurd to just nod with a, “I see,” upon being told that a person had shrunk in size, but thinking back to the scene akin to the veriest hell he had seen during the decisive battle at the Imperial Capital, he could accept that most things he saw were not entirely out of the question.
If they could expect Cecilus to turn back, then it probably was not too much of a setback.
Heinkel: [Well, why don’t we start talking after turning him back?]
Al: [As much as I wanna do that, we need a certain old Shinobi to return him to normal. So for now, we need to go on while he stays at that size… Hey, why didn’t you notice that your son’s become tiny the moment you saw him?]
Al slowly shook his head sideways, then pointed the subject of the matter towards Rowan.
However, Rowan traced his noticeably stubbly chin with a finger at Al’s query,
Rowan: [Of course, whether my son’s big or small ain’t important to me.]
Al: [Hey hey, is this a contest to decide who’s the shittiest dad? Are the dads of the strongest in each country all something like this?]
Heinkel: [――. How about you? Do you know you’ve shrunk?]
Al let out an exasperated grumble at Rowan’s answer, given abashedly by someone who was far from an exemplary father. Reluctant to react to Al’s grumbling, Heinkel brought up the subject with Cecilus.
At his words, Cecilus, who was starting on his third piece of dried meat, laughed out, “Well,”
Cecilus: [If you’re asking me whether I’m aware or not, then I’m not! Shrinking or growing, I’ve already gone on stage as myself!]
Cecilus: [However! Howeeever! The things said by Boss, Gustav-san, the others on the island, and the rest of the side characters are falling into place! I believe the foreshadowing has come together!]
Cecilus hit the surface of a desk that was close at hand, his voice bubbling with enthusiasm.
The look on his face said that something about it had made sense to him, but it all sounded like gibberish to Heinkel, having only followed after the words spoken during their conversation. A shrinking body should be a grave matter, but all Heinkel knew was that neither father nor child took it too seriously.
Rowan: [Though, it all adds up now. No wonder I thought he was so calm even when he faced me. Ya see, we had quite the parting.]
Cecilus: [Oh? I don’t recall anything about it, but I’m curious as to how we part――]
Cecilus tipped his head sideways at Rowan’s revelation, keenly stroking his chin.
A parting with a father which the son had forgotten. For all that, taking their interactions thus far into account, Heinkel imagined that it could not be anything but awful.
At that moment――,
???: [――The fucker over there is the motherfucker that planned a fucking assassination of His Excellency and got sliced up for it.]
A sharp voice cut in, capturing Heinkel and the others’ gazes in its direction.
And there was the petite hyena human that had been fast asleep until now, picking himself up from the floor he had been left aside on. Sitting up in a cross-legged position, he glared at Rowan with a sour look on his face,
???: [I’m also real fucking surprised to see this shithead alive when he should be dead. Especially because I can’t imagine that even the fucking dumbass Cecilus would fuck it up.]
Cecilus: [Oh, you’re awake, Doggy. Woof, woof! I’m glad you’re looking very well.]
???: [You’re being fucking stupid as always, you piece of shit!]
Cecilus pouted with a sulky expression at the shouting hyena human.
Judging from his reaction, the hyena human seemed to be acquainted with Cecilus. However, it must be said that it was Cecilus who did not remember such a fact. ――No, from the current flow of the conversation, perhaps saying that he had forgotten about what happened before he shrunk would be the correct way to phrase it.
It was a ridiculous story, but it could be because he did not recall anything from his adulthood that he, Rowan, and the hyena human were all on different pages, talking past each other.
Al: [By the way, who’s this guy that was knocked out earlier? He seems pretty energetic…]
Rowan: [Ah, Mister Furball over here is General First-Class Groovy. He’s one of the Empire’s Nine Divine Generals, and Cecilus’s colleague.]
Al: [By Groovy… Oh, you mean Groovy Gumlet!]
Al’s voice rose a pitch higher, perplexed by the unpredicted identity of the stranger, but Heinkel was just as surprised as him.
After all, Rowan had only told him that the person was someone important without giving him any further information, so he had been carrying him along as a lump of baggage.
Depending on the situation, he might have treated the luggage that was the hyena human as a shield against the undead’s attacks.
Al: [Which means, even though one of them’s shrunken down, there’s two General First-Classes here. I want to say it’s giving me some unexpected hope, but…]
Rowan: [――? What could it be?]
Al: [Didn’t Mister General First-Class just say something crazy? Planned the Emperor’s assassination?]
Once Al brought the topic back on track, Rowan was once again at the center of attention.
For a moment, the hyena human’s—―Groovy’s——awakening and his exchange with Cecilus had stolen Heinkel’s focus, but he did certainly say that.
Faced with everyone’s distrustful looks, Rowan placed a hand on his forehead with an, “Oopsie,”
Rowan: [That’s a misunderstanding, ya see. I haven’t planned an assassination of His Excellency the Great Emperor. I only tried to have my son do it.]
Heinkel: […That’s no excuse. So, as parent and child, you guys are both guilty of an attempted assassination of the Emperor?]
Heinkel stared at the blue-haired parent and child, stunned by the explanation that failed to serve its purpose as one.
He had never heard of the Emperor being killed, so it was probably just handled as an attempt, but that was quite an egregious rumor to have floating around.
However, Groovy shook his head with a, “You’re wrong,” to Heinkel’s question,
Groovy: [This fucker told His Excellency that his shitty dad was planning it. After that, the story goes that he went to put an end to the nasty fucking plot along with his shitty dad.]
Al: [But isn’t he alive because Cecilus didn’t put an end to it?]
Groovy: [I dunno about it either, fucking hell! OI, CECILUS, YOU FUCKER! The hell were you thinking, letting your shit-for-a-father live!?]
Cecilus: [Who knows? Even if you told me it was something I did, between the me of yesterday, the me of today, and the me of tomorrow, the quotes and exceptional directions of the sort that flash across my mind during the moment will also change. However, it’s hard to imagine that I failed to do it, so perhaps it could be that I purposefully didn’t do it?]
Groovy shot up to his feet, edging in on Cecilus, but the boy with a similar stature waved his hand with an unapologetic look, as if he were saying that the answer was lost with his missing height.
In reality, asking Cecilus about this when he presumably cannot recall his own reasons would be fruitless. Instead of clinging on to an unknown answer――,
Heinkel: [Blue hair, why did you plot the Emperor’s assassination? Is your goal to overthrow the government?]
Rowan: [Hahaha, ya say such silly, silly things, redhead. My goal’s mighty simple. If my son were to do away with His Excellency the Emperor, the whole of the Empire’d become his enemy.]
Heinkel: [That’s pretty… Obvious, though?]
Rowan: [That’s my goal. A situation where those Imperial soldiers are gonna keep on attacking without sparing any time to eat or sleep… There’s no better environment than that to polish his sword skills between life and death!]
Acting as if he had come up with a wonderful idea, Rowan gave a good-humored, resounding slap to his knee.
Heinkel could only widen his eyes while frozen in place, unable to comprehend the logic he was voicing out. On the other hand, Cecilus spoke up, chiming in, “Ah, ah, ah!” after hearing those words,
Cecilus: [I see, I see, so that’s why! I have no recollection of it, but if it’s Dad, then he would make me do something like that. He would stop at nothing to reach the Heavenly Sword!]
Rowan: [Yer talent with the sword’s the real deal… But, when it comes to ya, ya hit the ceiling right in front of the Heavenly Sword. If that’s the case, I thought, why not use a somewhat heavy-handed method to let ya break outta yer shell… Out of parental love.]
Cecilus: [Hahhahha, parental love? That’s really unlike you! If you had human emotions like that left in you, Dad, then you wouldn’t have killed five or six of your own children until the talented me was born.]
Rowan: [Oh dear! There’s no room to argue ‘gainst that!]
Their biggest doubts having been dispelled, the eccentric laughter from the giggling father and son reverberated loudly.
While Groovy regarded their words with a scowl and Al listened to them with a hand to his neck, Heinkel’s vision began to sway in a bout of dizziness, and he bumped his shoulder against the wall.
Their parent-child relationship was unfathomable.
He struggled to understand what was driving him to go that far. Suddenly, the faint hope he had harbored towards Rowan until just a moment ago, a type of shared feeling he had for the person who stood on the same foot—— the father of someone considered as the strongest, had faded away rapidly before vanishing completely.
He’d plotted the assassination of the Vollachian Emperor, been betrayed by his own child and fell short of his goal in addition, was considered long dead, and in a position where he would be well known for his appalling notoriety.
With all that in mind, Heinkel could not comprehend why he was able to laugh so nonchalantly.
Heinkel was in a similar position in his home country. Even so, it was terribly suffocating.
Even if he were only suspected of a crime he had no memory of committing, such as being involved with the kidnapping of the Lugunican royalty, it was still unbearably suffocating――,
Al: [――Right, I got the idea that each of us have our own circumstances.]
Al spoke out quietly, ignoring Heinkel, who was in the midst of a dizzy spell.
He, too, might have his own thoughts concerning the previous conversation between the father and son, as well as Groovy’s status, in his mind. However, he gulped down the entirety of those emotions and placed a lid over them.
That was because Al had already decided what to prioritize in this place, over the doubts laying about in front of him.
Al: [We’re all members that have something we’re looking for, or have some objective at the Imperial Capital. The lineup might be full of talented people who don’t really need anyone to lend a hand to them, but they have no reason to go out of their way to reject willing collaborators. Isn’t that right?]
He asked, surveying the roster in the room with a glance.
Groovy crossed his short arms, puffing out his chest at Al’s question,
Groovy: [I just woke up, so I only know the Imperial Capital’s got this shitty ass earthy smell to it. Plus I don’t wanna be left behind with this fucking dumbass and the fucking dumbass’s dad. ――I dunno whats His Fucking Clever Excellency’s planning, either.]
Al: [The primary goal is to fight off the undead, regardless of whether we’re enemies or allies… At least, I can believe that you’ve got the same idea as us, right?]
Groovy: [You don’t have to be worried for shit, it’s the same for me.]
Groovy asserted with a bullish tone, showing his agreement with Al’s opinion rather aggressively. Subsequently, after receiving his response, Al looked over to Cecilus,
Al: [I understand that you and your dad’ve got a unique parent-child relationship. I dunno why you’re able to get along and laugh together considering what happened, but the topic of parents is also a touchy subject for me. I won’t elaborate. But, instead of――]
Cecilus: [There’s no need to worry, Al-san. You don’t have to choose your words so anxiously. There were a few occasions where your decisions saved me during the previous battle with the archer. So! For now, I believe it’s unnecessary to have a clash in our objectives just for us to part ways.]
Al: [That’s great. That’s great, but also please don’t try to kill me on a whim. I can’t deal with it no matter how many lives I have.]
Cecilus: [Hahaha, no matter how many lives you have! Nice joke!]
Al: [It’s not a joke, though…]
Al breathed a sigh as Cecilus let out a cheerful cackle while making a thumbs-up.
Finally, he gathered both Heinkel and Rowan within his field of view,
Al: [How ‘bout you, old man? Whatcha gonna do?]
Rowan: [Whoaaa, helmeted sir! Compared to my son and Mister Furball, the way ya talk when ya invite us is as if yer being forced to speak… That wounds me, ya know.]
Al: [I mean, I kinda have the worst impression of you right now.]
Shrugging his one-armed shoulders, Al let Rowan know about his impression of him in a blunt manner, and then craned his neck in Heinkel’s direction,
Al: [You might’ve had nothing to show for during the all-out battle, but you can make up for it if you go and rescue Princess. Without her, your wish won’t come true. Right, Heinkel-san?]
Upon being told that by Al, Heinkel clenched the back of his teeth together as he dropped his gaze.
Just as Al said, Heinkel was a part of the Priscilla Camp because there was something he wanted, a reward that he could obtain should she win her way through the Royal Selection.
Essentially, no expectations were placed on the contributions and capabilities of Heinkel himself. The only thing he was expected to do was to act as a constraint against Reinhard, who was allied with another candidate.
If he thought about it in this way, no matter how much he was able to contribute to Priscilla in this situation, he would only be achieving results that deviated from his original role.
Adding on to that――,
Heinkel had already fallen to his knees once on the battlefield, giving up on fighting back.
When he had witnessed the sight that appeared otherworldly, as if the world had been flipped upside down on its head, he had lost heart. ――Heinkel had tried to give up.
That was why he left the battlefield, drowned himself in liquor as Rowan dragged him away, and closed the lid on top of everything.
And yet, he thought,
Within his heart, where he had been told that he had an opportunity to redeem himself, a certain regret showed its shameful face.
If Priscilla had not seen him when he had run away, nor his state of mind when he had given up… If he could pretend everything was going well, he wanted to turn a blind eye to the fear that had once gripped his throat, and continue reaching out a hand.
Heinkel: [――. But, what can we do? Even if we band together, we’re just five people. Are you saying we can save an Empire on the brink of destruction with this group of five?]
Cecilus: [That’s certainly one upsetting, offensive opinion. Of course, we seem like a group of five people if you only look at the numbers, but the strength that lies within me alone is over and above the equivalent of a hundred others so you’d opt to reword it as a million and four peop—mrghmrghmrgh…]
Groovy: [Shut your fucking trap.]
Locked in a battle with his inner worries, Heinkel sought for their chances of succeeding and outlooks on what awaited them.
As one would expect, General First-Class Groovy used his own hand to cover the mouth of Cecilus’s meaningless banter aimed at Heinkel’s words. Keeping Cecilus’s mouth covered, he glanced at Al with a, “Though,”
Groovy: [It’s just as the red old fart fucking said. Even though we have me and this fucking dumbass, it’s not easy to kill the shit out of those motherfuckers outside.]
Cecilus: [Byyy the way, I think we shouldn’t do that. Why? Because of a hunch felt by the leading actor!]
Groovy: [Shut your fucking trap!]
Leaving aside the two, who began squabbling over whether they should cover Cecilus’s mouth or not, Heinkel’s doubts remained suspended in the air, unresolved.
Truthfully, Heinkel had already made up his mind to an extent. If he could settle it without giving in, then he could not afford to give in. All that was left was the reason he was seeking.
Al flicked the metal fittings on his helmet with a finger at Heinkel, who continued to look for the reason he sought,
Al: [Just as Heinkel-san said, we’re being way too ambitious if we think we can turn around the situation with just us five. That said, what we need to do isn’t something as grand as saving the Empire. ――We gotta pave the road.]
Rowan: [The road, ya said?]
Rowan licked up the alcohol in his gourd, then wiped his mouth with a sleeve. Al nodded at his query with a, “Yeah.”
He turned his head, gazing ahead at the closed window; the Imperial Capital could be seen behind it, reduced to a city of corpses.
Al: [Saving the Empire is a job for the hero. We’re gonna create a starting point for it. As many points as we can, and anywhere we can get our hands on, because there’s no knowing what’s gonna come in handy.]
Heinkel blinked his eyes at Al’s words, which gave him the impression of sounding oddly confident.
It was as if he were implying that he had an idea of someone who could pull it off, but Heinkel had no idea of who that someone was, nor did Rowan or Groovy.
However, as the unbounded one regarded those words with gleaming eyes,
Cecilus: [――In other words, it’s foreshadowing!!]
In high spirits and highly enthusiastic, the young Blue Lightning declared as such, welcoming Al’s aim with open arms.
In terms of the power dynamic in this place, it did not take long for it to be expressed as the collective opinion of the five people taking part in this meeting.
 Wasou – “traditional Japanese outfit” in the language of this world.