Chronicle Legion

Chapter 1 - Under the Black Knight's Shadow

Part 1

October in the year Tenryuu 58...

It was past the middle of the month and autumn was in full swing.

People called autumn the season of appetite and the time for sports. However, enjoying these pleasures were a little difficult at Tachibana Masatsugu's current residence of Suruga City.

After all, enemy armies were occupying the "surroundings" of Suruga City.

"Taisei, how many days has it been since the British Empire's forces attacked?"

"It's the sixth day. Time sure flies, it's going to be a week soon."

Masatsugu was chatting with Okonogi Taisei, one of his few friends.

They were classmates studying in the second year of Rinzai Private High School. They had met up at the classroom of Year 2 Class 2, their homeroom.

Martial law had been proclaimed in Suruga City, yet Rinzai High decided to resume classes.

However, this did not mean their lives had returned to normal. Invading under the banner of the Restoration Alliance, the British Empire had taken over Shizuoka Prefecture using overwhelming military force.

Of the five tutelary forts in the prefecture, four had fallen.

The sole exception was this land of Suruga.

Thanks to Chevalier Akigase Rikka coming to the Suruga tutelary fort by chance—as well as Tachibana Masatsugu's efforts—they managed to halt the Restoration Alliance's advance.

The problem was that enemy forces still remained inside Shizuoka Prefecture.

Transportation networks going in and out of Suruga City were all blockaded by the Restoration Alliance. Neither trains nor automobiles could pass through.

Suruga City and its immediate surroundings were like an isolated island on land.

Martial law had been imposed five days ago when the British attacked and still had not been lifted. Normally, education institutions would suspend classes during martial law.

However, the high school where Masatsugu and Taisei studied had classes starting again.

This had nothing to do with the noble ideals of dedication to learning or defiance against military brutality.

Since escaping Suruga was impossible, people had nothing to do. Why not round up all the students and teachers in the city and run some lessons... Purely nothing more than that.

"In the end, it feels more like we came to school to chat. Without the teachers and students who commute from outside the city, normal classes can't really proceed."

"Even if you want to kill time by watching television, there's no reception."

Noetic control techniques for causing destructive interference with electromagnetic waves, wireless communications, and noetic waves were known as "noetic disruption."

After war broke out, Suruga had been under serious noetic disruption. Phones, televisions, and other household electrical appliances could not be used.

"By the way, residents in Shizuoka Prefecture can't watch television only because the prefecture's master control is located at Suruga. Of course, it's a different matter for those who live in areas that can receive signals from Kantō or Aichi."

"Meaning that everyone is suffering because of us."

"Maybe that's also part of the Restoration Alliance's plan, to minimize the amount of unnecessary information received by residents in the prefecture—Oh, that reminds me."

Taisei suddenly changed the subject.

"For fourth period, students and teachers have to go off campus for community service."

As a side note, it was currently the break between second and third period.

The one who informed Masatsugu, Okonogi Taisei, was also the vice-president of the student council. He now spoke to a third person who had remained silent so far.

"I am terribly sorry to impose this on a knight... and Your Highness, Princess."

"Do not worry about it. This is more meaningful than idly wasting time."

Her elegant response prompted Taisei to retract his neck with a "much obliged."

Seeing her "classmate" react so timidly, the young maiden smiled and said, "We are all fellow students on a common quest for learning. There is no need to be so reserved."

"That's a fair point, but it's a bit too challenging for a commoner like me."

Despite speaking to Masatsugu as equals, Taisei acted especially respectful towards the young maiden.

This was only natural. The person before him had become a household name in Suruga City not too long ago. She was Fujinomiya Shiori the imperial princess.

Taisei and Masatsugu were conversing while standing in front of her seat.

Furthermore, this young and beautiful princess had her platinum blonde hair in a ponytail and was wearing the school blazer.

"If I remember correctly... Your Highness is sixteen, isn't that right?"

Despite saying he was going to remain reserved, Taisei actively initiated conversation with the princess.

Speaking of which, like his friend Masatsugu, Taisei was the kind of guy who marched at the beat of his own drum. Neither arrogant nor subservient, he was using polite forms without much rigor to speak to Shiori.

"That is correct."

"Then you are a second-year like us because—"

"I suppose it would count as skipping grades. Do know that I did pass the transfer exam, so skipping grades is the result based on academic results." Shiori then added mischievously, "Naturally, it was thoughtful of the school to assign me to the same homeroom as Masatsugu-sama."

"I think so too."

Technically, Fujinomiya Shiori was also a student of outstanding academic excellence.

She not only kept up with second-year courses effortlessly but also demonstrated the intellect to achieve perfect scores on minor tests and classroom participation in all subjects.

The only exception was PE class which she opted out using an excuse of "frailty in health."

...But of course, Masatsugu was aware of the truth.

There was nothing wrong with the princess' health. She boycotted PE class only because she needed to keep her top secret of "athletic ineptitude."

However, the beautiful and charming princess commented nonchalantly, "Since Suruga is currently in a crisis, perhaps I shouldn't be saying this... However, I honestly feel very happy. Ever since a long time ago, I have always wanted to experience school life like this."

She did not neglect to offer a demure smile.

She had not forgotten the cover story she had used during the interview for the news program last time. Having played the part so many times, her ability to feign docility was like second nature.

Masatsugu had heard that Shiori had skipped grades to enter university during her studies in Rome.

Enrolling in high school in Japan was to create the image of "the young and frivolous princess." In truth, the princess with ambitions to take over Japan was a diligent learner who had not only mastered all regular academic disciplines but also politics, diplomacy, history and cultural studies of various nations, and even military strategy...

Born in the right era, she would be qualified as a first-rate strategist. That was how much of an elite she was.

"By the way, Vice-President."

Since Taisei was a member of the student council, Shiori always addressed him by his title.

It was probably unintentional on her part, but there was a "princess asking a retainer's opinion on national affairs" kind of classy tone to it.

"As one might expect, there are not too many students at school."

"Many people believe it's not a time to be attending school."

The classroom was quiet and unoccupied during break.

Student numbers were low. Today's attendance was only 50%.

"The Restoration Alliance has not attacked since the night before yesterday... No one knows when the fighting will resume. I can understand their feelings of wanting to stay home."

"But you don't feel the same way, Vice-President?"

"I shoulder the responsibilities of the student council, after all. If other students are coming, I can't feign ignorance. Besides, if I go to school... Or rather, go near the dorms, there's a Lord Chevalier protecting us."

Answering the princess, Taisei glanced obliquely at Masatsugu.

"I really look forward to your power to drive away the Restoration Alliance, Masatsugu-kun."

"Certainly, I will try to the best of my meager ability..." Masatsugu answered with a shrug.

He had informed the school of his ability to control Legions and his intention to use this power to protect Suruga City.

Only by doing so did he obtain the necessary leniency afforded to "the princess' knight."

"Undeniably, there are many things in this world that are beyond my ability. Just think of me as a straw that happened to show up when everyone is drowning."

"Forget about a big ship, but at least convince us you're a lifeboat."

Taisei had readily accepted the fact that his classmate was a Chevalier.

He knew of Masatsugu's memory loss and his unusually tough fighting ability. Upon hearing of the truth, he showed a "that explains everything" kind of look.

Just as the princess, the Chevalier and the high school boy were chatting away...

"...This moment alone, there are already two Chevaliers in this school."

A stern girl's clear voice interrupted their conversation.

A black-haired beauty had arrived at the classroom, dressed in Imperial Japan's army officer uniform rather than Rinzai High's female uniform.

Taisei reeled in surprise.

The girl in military uniform continued, "Perhaps not a lifeboat, but some level of assurance could be provided."

"Oh, it's Akigase-dono."

"It has been a while, Hiji—No, Tachibana-dono. It is most wonderful to see you in good health, Your Highness."

Hanging at the black-haired girl's belt was a Japanese sword in its scabbard.

This gallant appearance belonged to the Suruga tutelary fort's current castellan, Chevalier Akigase Rikka. Masatsugu could not possibly mistake the identity of a striking beauty of her caliber.

He said, "Not too long of a while, really. We met yesterday and the day before."

"I-Indeed, you are right."

Rikka panicked a little when Masatsugu reminded her.

Three nights ago, Masatsugu had defeated the Kamuys of the Restoration Alliance on her behalf. The next day, Rikka had paid a visit to thank him. The day after that, she came again to express her gratitude solemnly.

And today, Akigase Rikka was here again.

She even visited the school while class was in session, leaving her military duties behind.

Although the Suruga tutelary fort and Rinzai High were "neighbors," less than half an hour's drive apart...

Rikka's attitude was inexplicably courteous, despite her status as a fiefdom "princess." Her father was Akigase Shouzan, the Governor General ruling over Tōkaidō.

"By the way, Akigase-dono, may I ask what you're doing here today?"

"Y-Yes. Like you, Tachibana-dono, we are both Chevaliers protecting Suruga."

When speaking, Rikka avoided eye contact with Masatsugu.

"It is only right that we make the most of chances to interact and get to know each other better. Th-That is, if it is alright with you."

"Oh I see. To share insight as Chevaliers?"

"Yes, precisely, Chevaliers have plenty of insight to share."

"Is it necessary for you to come all the way to the school?"

"I-I happen to be free. I did worry about disturbing you, but I did not want to waste time, so I brazenly paid a visit."

"Akigase-dono, you're definitely the busiest person in Suruga right now."

"N-Not at all. Having received my rank from the imperial state, I am merely fulfilling my obligations. Please understand."

Rikka mustered her courage to converse with Masatsugu.

Rather than a sharing of insight between Chevaliers, this was more akin to a young maiden suppressing her bashful feelings to boldly approach "the object of her affections."

Deciding not to think too much about it, Masatsugu nodded.

Introverted sheltered young ladies were to his liking, but he also found it very cute when girls expressed their affections honestly.

No matter which kind of girl Akigase Rikka was, at least there was no doubt that she was highly attractive. Her feelings also delighted him.

Masatsugu said to her, "Sure, but let's not stand and talk in a classroom. We'll go outside."

"Y-Yes. It would be my pleasure."

"Uh, Masatsugu-kun, class will be starting in two minutes, you know?"

"Sorry, this is part of work, so help me smooth things over with the teacher."

In front of his delighted knight companion, Masatsugu asked his friend for a favor sullenly.

Meanwhile, his liege Fujinomiya Shiori revealed a momentary look of panic while listening to his conversation with Rikka. She coughed lightly and said, "Excuse me, Masatsugu-sama, please allow Hatsune to accompany you if there will be a discussion regarding Chevalier matters."

"Why is that?"


"Consider this, did we not mention previously... Hatsune wishes to inherit the Appellation that has been the Tachibana family's heirloom? It stands to reason that Hatsune would benefit from attending a conversation between Chevaliers. Yes, it is decided so. Besides, on further thought..."

Shiori and said in an innocent tone of voice, "I should take part in your discussion too. It is a princess' duty to respond to the loyalty shown by you knights."

"...I see."

Could the princess be jealous because he was skipping class to go on a "date"?

Musing upon this disrespectful speculation, Masatsugu agreed to Shiori's request. Surprised by the sudden development but unable to offer words of objection, Rikka had no choice but to acquiesce.

Part 2

"Which is why... Now is the time to take a leap, Onii-sama!"

"Hatsune, I haven't the foggiest idea where you're coming from."

Tachibana Hatsune's serious declaration was dismissed indifferently by Masatsugu.

Akigase Rikka had shown up twenty minutes earlier. Leaving Year 2 Class 2's homeroom where they were earlier, they had gone to an open-air cafe outside the school building, thus leading to the above exchange.

It was currently third period and there was no noise around.

Shiori and Rikka were present but Taisei did not come along.

"Actually during class today, I've been thinking about something and couldn't focus on the lesson. All things considered, Suruga currently—no, Japan currently needs a great hero like Tachibana Hatsune."

"Isn't it a bit weird to be calling yourself the great hero who slacks off in class?"

Hatsune was a student of Year 1 Class 1.

After Masatsugu went to fetch her at her classroom, this lady-in-waiting of Shiori's sat down in the open-air cafe and began to talk gibberish.

Hatsune had broached her topic too abruptly, which is why Masatsugu ridiculed her on everyone's behalf.

"By taking a leap, you mean..."

"Becoming a Chevalier, of course. I've already gotten my hands on the treasured Appellation."

"So you're very certain you'll become a hero."

"Come on, in a situation like this, a cool title is obligatory even if a little lying is in order. All I need to do after the fact is explain it was just my personal opinion, Onii-sama."

"I see."

"Those who call themselves professional creators are pretty much all like that."

"From what I've heard, people who call themselves producers are exaggerating, more often than not."

"Hatsune and Masatsugu-sama, aren't you two going on a bit of a tangent?" Shiori tactfully cautioned them to steer the conversation back on topic. "Currently in Hatsune's possession, the Tachibana clan's Kurou Hougan is the issue here."

"Indeed, indeed, you are very right, Princess."

Capable of fluently responding to her noble lady, Hatsune was truly no ordinary character.

She took out a blue scroll from her schoolbag. Believed to be the manifestation of Kurou Hougan Yoshitsune's Appellation, it was quite a distinguished artifact.

Furthermore, Hatsune was dressed in Haikara-san style as usual.

Meisen kimono paired with hakama and boots, an old-fashioned style of school uniform for girls.

"For the past fifty years, no one in the Tachibana clan has been able to use it... No one knows the trick to clearing the succession ritual." In a casual tone of voice, Hatsune revealed the horrifying truth. "There were seven or eight challengers over the years, but they all died during the succession ritual, so they provided no reference value at all."

"To have had so many challengers, the Tachibana clan truly lives up to its reputation as ruffians."

"For a while, it was apparently fashionable to use this trial as a coming of age ritual♪ Because of that, our clan doesn't have many young people nowadays."

"I see, that is quite fascinating," Rikka remarked poignantly after listening to the conversation between the princess and Hatsune. "This is quite similar to a certain country's hunters. It is said that they must hunt and kill a lion single-handedly before they are considered full-fledged adults."

"That's samurai spirit too, Rikka-sama," said Hatsune cheerfully to Rikka, the female hero who had become a Chevalier earlier than her. "The ancient Japanese were pretty barbaric too, like disemboweling themselves, or beheading enemy generals for trophies to claim credit in battle."

"That is true too. In fact, when I inherited Yasutsuna..."

The treasured sword of Genji pedigree, Onikiri Yasutsuna. Rikka unfastened the Appellation that was hanging on her belt in the form of a Japanese sword and stood it up on a chair.

The maiden Chevalier looked at her beloved sword and said nostalgically, "Everyone said failure in succession would lead to death—At first, I felt daunted too."

"Oh right! There's something I wanted to ask you, Rikka-sama. What did it feel like when you were inheriting an Appellation? And how did you achieve success?"

"I don't mind telling you, but it probably will not be of much help."


"When inheriting a high-level Appellation such as Yasutsuna or Kurou Hougan, the trial undertaken during the ritual is unique. The will residing within the Appellation will alter the trial depending on the challenger... That is what I have learned."

After listening to Rikka's explanation, Masatsugu nodded. When inheriting Hijikata Toshizō's Izumi-no-Kami Kanesada, he had felt some kind of will within the sword too.

Tōkaidō's premier Chevalier, Rikka, spoke again, "All things considered... The succession ritual is no more than a beginning. What truly matters are one's battle achievements after becoming a Chevalier, and these Appellations know this all too well."


"Although there is a risk of death, it is ultimately just a test. Just give it your best attempt as though you were taking a bungee jump from a cliff, Tachibana."


Rikka naturally called her by her family name and Hatsune replied energetically.

Their conversation style was almost like the kind you find in athletic clubs between senior and junior members. The two girls were both "fighters" accomplished in martial arts. Perhaps this made them particularly compatible on the same wavelength.

Concluding the topic with a vague appeal to the power of mind over body, Rikka then spoke grimly, "Of the many puzzling points in the current situation... There is one that I find the most concerning."

"What is it, Rikka-sama?" Shiori immediately asked in response to the lady knight's serious tone.

Rikka was sitting very straight, facing her respected princess with dignity.

"What bothers me is the girl who came over to attack me prior to attack on Suruga by the Kinai Fiefdom's Legions. She used a strange power to bewitch me—Back then, I was prepared to succumb any moment."

This incident had led to Rikka falling unconscious and Tachibana Masatsugu fighting in her stead.

"Your Highness mentioned... That she might be related to the British royal family?"

"That I cannot assert with certainty. All I can say is the likelihood is not small."

The grandchild of the sacred beast Lord Tenryuu, the princess quietly nodded.

Shiori had speculated that the blonde enchantress must have definite ties to the British forces—Perhaps she is a princess of royalty like herself.

In other words, it was possible that she belonged to the bloodline of a godlike sacred beast and possessed mystic powers.

"The method she bewitched me... was definitely a potent power akin to magic or sorcery. It would be quite a bad situation if she is able to use that technique repeatedly in succession. If important officials across Japan, or even the Empress herself at the capital, were to fall under such sorcery—"

Rikka murmured worriedly but Shiori immediately rejected the idea.

"No, I believe there is no worry of that."

"How so?"

"If such a powerful ability could be invoked at will, the British Empire would have annexed Japan long ago without needing to go to war. The dream of conquering the world would be feasible too. However, reality indicates otherwise—My guess is that there should be strict conditions to its practical use."

For example, time or date restrictions and usage conditions. Shiori raised a few possibilities and smiled at Rikka. "Why don't we think of it this way? Britain had to resort to using their treasured trump card against you, Rikka-sama... And their operation ultimately failed. Forget this threat of sorcery for the time being, I believe it is of no concern of all."

"I see, that makes plenty of sense."

The princess' clear and logical explanation was very persuasive and Rikka understood.

Smiling, she nodded and neither raised the issue of the "mysterious girl" again nor showed signs of worrying about it.

Cautious and meticulous yet sensible enough to not fall into paranoia—

This attitude was the mark of a hero's caliber. Akigase Rikka really was quite something. Masatsugu decided he had to inform her of something.

"Akigase-dono and Hatsune, there's something you must know," Masatsugu began to recount patiently.

"I never would have thought... you had lost your memory, Tachibana-dono."

In the driver's seat, holding the steering wheel, Rikka remarked in shock.

Masatsugu was sitting next to her in the front passenger seat. The lady Chevalier was driving a domestic sports car, speeding along a mountain road towards the Suruga tutelary fort. Despite her vehicle's high speed, her driving was not dangerous at all.

...Due to his memory loss, Tachibana Masatsugu was unable to replenish ectoplasmic fluid using the normal method—

Just earlier, Masatsugu had explained his weakness concisely. Now, they were resuming the previous conversation while on the road because Rikka needed to return to the tutelary fort.

"I only have memories of the past two years."

"In other words, you have no recollection of your past life... or your true name?"

"That's right," Masatsugu admitted readily, further surprising Rikka.

Also, the steering wheel and seats were clearly not standard issue.

They had been modified. Rikka's car was manual transmission rather than automatic. Since the military would not provide this kind of vehicle, Masatsugu concluded it must Rikka's personal property.

He could tell that she was quite into cars.

"...However, I believe your true name is already obvious. After all, you were able to use Izumi-no-Kami Kanesada as familiarly as your own limbs—"

"Even so, that doesn't necessarily mean I'm the original owner."

Was Masatsugu actually Hijikata Toshizō?

This question was very hard to resolve. Judging from the fragments of memories Shiori showed him, the answer seemed to be no, but he could not reject it completely.

To be honest, Masatsugu did not care whether he was Hijikata Toshizō or not.

However, Akigase Rikka's affections for Tachibana Masatsugu stemmed from this possibility.

Masatsugu needed to clear up this issue with her first. Since she was his and Shiori's most dependable ally, Masatsugu did not want to hide any secrets between each other that could bite them in the future.

"Akigase-dono," Masatsugu called to Rikka in a slightly more assertive tone than normal. "From your perspective... Is my true name that important?"


"But to me, it's unimportant. Whether my name is Hijikata or not, being able to fight by your side against invaders is already an utmost honor."


"A true hero is the most valuable companion. I am very delighted for the good fortune of meeting you."

"W-What hero? Please don't make fun of me."

"I am not joking. If I had to pick a comrade-in-arms and a wife right here, Akigase-dono, you would be my choice. That's how amazing a person you are."

"Comrade-in-arms and... wiiiiife!?"

Rikka suddenly floored the gas pedal.

The car instantly accelerated then quickly slowed down again. The moment of surprise had probably caused her to step too hard by accident. It was quite rare for the courageous Rikka to be so flustered.

"T-Tachibana-dono. B-By saying wife, aren't you taking your joke too far...!?"

"Why? Akigase-dono, you are strong, virtuous, brave, and magnanimous. I think every man would certainly want to marry such a woman."

"N-No one has ever said that to me..."

"Then the men in this country are blind."


"Masatsugu is fine."

Rikka had addressed Masatsugu by his family name, but Masatsugu said seriously, "Using my family name makes it easy to mix up with Hatsune, which is confusing. Why don't you use my first name directly? We're comrades on the battlefield, there's no need to be formal."

"Well... How about Masatsugu-dono?"


Comrades riding across battlefields ought to bare their souls to one another.

Committed to a relationship of honesty, Masatsugu made intermittent conversation with Rikka. Fortunately, Rikka was not opposed to it. Despite her nervousness, she responded sincerely to Masatsugu.

Putting aside the issue of Hijikata Toshizō, both sides had to get to know each other first.

Just as Masatsugu's efforts were starting to bear fruit, Shiori finally spoke after a long period of silence in the back seat.

"Y-You two seem to be having a wonderfully engaging conversation as fellow Chevaliers."

The princess' voice sounded inexplicably sarcastic.

In fact, Shiori was riding the same car to the tutelary fort. Meanwhile, Rikka replied in panic as a member of the same sex.

"I-I beg your pardon, Your Highness!"

"Relax. It is a good thing to see you two getting along so well."

The tone of sarcasm could not longer be felt from the princess' voice.

The reflection of Shiori's usual smile of "beguiling innocence" could be seen on the rear-view mirror. Perhaps Masatsugu had gotten the wrong impression—Probably?

In any case, Shiori spoke with a princess' graceful airs, "Rikka-sama, have you received orders from your father at Nagoya...?"

"Yes. Orders were relayed to the Suruga tutelary fort just this morning. Regarding this matter, I would like to have a detailed discussion with Your Highness and Hiji—Masatsugu-dono about our future plans."

With telephone and mail unavailable, communication with the outside world had to depend on retainer beasts.

The Tōkaidō Fiefdom's Governor General and his daughter Rikka had exchanged messages using the primitive magical method of "relaying orders through retainer beasts."

"By the way, Your Highness, have you received any instructions from the imperial palace at Tokyo?"

"None at all. Total silence. It could very well be that the palace hopes for me to go missing in this situation... This doesn't sound like a joke and is quite troubling, isn't it?"

Shiori shrugged and Rikka laughed boldly.

While the car took the two girls and Masatsugu up the mountain, there were no other vehicles driving along this military road given the state of martial law. The entire road was clear without impedance.

Soon enough, the car reached the premises of the tutelary fort.

The tutelary fort was located on Suruga City's tallest plateau, also known as Nihondaira. It used to be a famous scenic spot offering a view of Mount Fuji and Suruga Bay from afar.

There was a parking space reserved for the castellan in the high-ranking officers' lot.

After Rikka parked her beloved car into the reserved space, the trio walked together in the tutelary fort. Their destination was the nation-protecting keep in the center of the tutelary fort.

The nation-protecting keep was a forty-meter brick building, reminiscent of an ancient bell tower.

Along the way, many soldiers greeted them with reverent gazes or salutes. Their behavior was not entirely due to the presence of the authoritative castellan or the princess.

Masatsugu himself was also a Chevalier with an army of Legions.

Within the military, Chevaliers were afforded treatment as high-ranking officers.

Moreover, he was the one responsible for the victory a few days ago. And there was rumor too.

(Is he Hijikata-dono...?)

(I heard about that too...)

(People even say that the sword he's wearing is evidently Izumi-no-Kami Kanesada...)

The soldiers and officers whispered among themselves as Masatsugu walked by.

As expected of a military facility. Apart from Rikka, others had noticed Masatsugu controlling Legions, using Tennen Rishin Style swordsmanship, and the Appellation of Izumi-no-Kami Kanesada.

As a result, rumors exploded.

And also thanks to that, the soldiers of Suruga treated Tachibana Masatsugu with the greatest respect.

Pondering this strange development, Masatsugu came to the nation-protecting keep's lobby. The two girls in his company began to chat about practical business.

"My father, head of the Akigase, intends to drive out the Restoration Alliance from Shizuoka by sending forces from north of Mount Fuji—Yamanashi, in other words. The first place that needs to be retaken is the Fuji tutelary fort that they are currently using as a crucial stronghold... The Fuji tutelary fort is only dozens of kilometers away from Suruga here."

"In other words... Rikka-sama, you will be supporting the operation from Suruga?"

"We also plan on coordinating with the Kantō provincial army and Eastern Rome's garrison in Japan. Naturally, my father is already making preparations on this front."

Rikka brought up the subject of military strategy matter-of-factly.

Her intention was on one hand fulfilling her duty to explain the crisis situation to the imperial princess in as much detail as possible while recognizing Shiori's valuable insight on the other.

Princess Shiori and Chevalier Akigase Rikka.

A solid relationship of cooperation had gradually developed between them.

The instant Masatsugu nodded with satisfaction, a ringing sound was heard at the scene. A palm-size white fox manifested on Rikka's shoulder.

In charge of relaying communications, the small retainer beast brought news.


The pipe fox had brought news that shocked Rikka greatly.

Not only Rikka but Shiori and all the soldiers in the nation-protecting keep's lobby were also shocked. Masatsugu was the only one listening to the situation report silently.

"Hakone Checkpoint—the Hakone has fallen in merely half a day?"

Rikka muttered to herself, doubting her ears.

Hakone Checkpoint was reputedly Kantō's most impregnable point of strategic importance. Situated in the precipitous mountainous region of Hakone, it had tutelary forts built at four separate locations.

These four tutelary forts each had multiple Chevaliers stationed at all times.

These Chevaliers were all experienced soldiers serving the Kantō Fiefdom and had over four hundred Kamuy Legions under their command.

In addition, the four tutelary forts each had one ifrit assigned to them.

A total of four ifrits, respectively Seiryuu, Suzaku, Byakko, and Genbu. This powerful lineup protected the western part of the Kantō region, the heart of Imperial Japan.

Reportedly, Hakone's impregnable defenses were cracked by "one man's power alone."

"This means... The British Empire has a new Resurrectee?" Shiori whispered the moment she heard the man's name of "Edward."

Part 3

Edward the Black Prince had started his illustrious career of glorious victories at the mere age of sixteen.

That victory went down in history as the Battle of Crécy. Even today at the end of the twentieth century, it remained very well-known to war researchers.

The year 1346 CE was part of the European Middle Ages familiar to everyone.

To Edward, it was a nostalgic time of his adolescent past.

Fully educated as befitted an English prince, he honed his martial prowess and noble character as a knight, and raised his skills as a general through life on and off the battlefield—Those were the times.

Back then, England and France were at war.

This was the early stage of the so-called "Hundred Years' War." At the village of Crécy in French territory, a great battle took place to determine the fates of both nations.

The English army numbered ten thousand while the French army had forty thousand...

However, the English still won an overwhelming victory at Crécy. At the time, the English forces were headed by Edward's father, King Edward III of England (both father and son shared the same name, making it easy to mix them up).

King Edward organized his forces into three divisions to engage the French army.

Crown Prince Edward led one of the divisions and was extremely instrumental to the victory.

This battle was the prelude to a legend. The heroic saga of the young and famous general, Prince Edward, would reach its pinnacle at the Battle of Poitiers that took place ten years after Crécy.

This time as the commander-in-chief, Edward led an army of six thousand to take on a French army of thirty thousand.

The disparity in numbers was even more unfavorable than at the Battle of Crécy. Nevertheless, Edward won an equally splendid victory and even managed to capture King John II of France.

Holding the French king hostage, England profited from both a handsome ransom and an advantage in diplomatic negotiations.

Furthermore, the Anglo-French war would drag on until 1453, long after Edward had passed away in sickness. The "maiden savior of France" who appeared towards the end was precisely Jeanne d'Arc.

Then time continued to march on, leading to the year 1998—

"From what I hear, that lady named Jeanne is quite popular in the modern world," said the "Black Prince" who had been reborn in the world.

In accordance with prior agreements, he would cast away the temporary alias of "Sir Black Knight" today.

"However, as an Englishman... I would like to take this chance to let everyone know that I, Edward, was in no way inferior."

This was the morning before he set off to conquer Hakone Checkpoint.

Early in the morning, he had sortied from the Fuji tutelary fort near the sacred mountain of Fuji, then marched east to assault Hakone Checkpoint—

Currently, Edweard was riding on a wyvern's back, soaring leisurely through the sky over Hakone.

In just a few short hours, he had defeated all Japanese forces in the Hakone tutelary forts. With victory firmly in his hands, he was in a very laid back mood.

The enemy consisted of five hundred Kamuys, the blue samurai of Imperial Japan.

The thousand black Legions fighting under Edward's command were Garter Knights, a superior variant of the British mainstay of the Crusade.

Edward's army had set up their formation in the sky over the vast Lake Ashi.

The four tutelary forts were respectively positioned north, east, south, and west of the lake. The first tutelary fort in the east was defended by the ifrit Seiryuu, the second tutelary fort in the south had Suzaku, the third tutelary fort in the west had Byakko, and the fourth tutelary fort in the north had Genbu. The united set of four guardian deities fought vigorously to resist the British invasion.

Unfortunately, they were ultimately no match against the thousand Knights of the Garter led by the Black Prince.

Edward's Chevalier Strength was 1256 and he summoned a full thousand to attack.

"Knights of the Garter, you have fought well. I, Edward, applaud your valor!"

Edward praised the black knights that were in formation over Lake Ashi.

Normally, the British Empire's mainstay Legion, the Crusade, was white in coloring. Edward's troops were pitch-black all over.

During the Middle Ages, Edward himself had roamed battlefields while clad in black armor.

That was how the nickname of the Black Prince came about. It was also why every Legion under his command was a black knight.

"Speaking of which, I never thought I would have a chance to fight in the Far East..."

Sharing his poignant thoughts, he looked at his prided knights.

Currently, these Legions were demonstrating his signature formation in the clear blue sky. First of all, three hundred of the thousand Legions had turned into archers and ascended in altitude.

These archers were not equipped with the standard Legion weapon of the bayonet rifle.

All three hundred archers were wielding longbows. This was the new weapon granted to them by Edward's prided special ability, the Feat of Arms—Archers of Crécy.

Indeed, it was just like how the Chevalier at the Suruga tutelary fort had bestowed Japanese swords to his subordinates.

Furthermore, Edward's wyvern mount was flying gracefully, a kilometer away from his prided knights. He had determined there was no need for him to be commanding the army at the forefront.

"In the past, I have won glorious victories at the hill of Crécy and the land of Poitiers. Let the world know that Japan has now joined this list... My fate has truly been unpredictable."

After increasing their elevation, the three hundred archers remained in their position in the sky.

They were roughly four hundred meters above the surface of Lake Ashi. The remaining seven hundred Garter Knights encircled the archers.

However, their altitude was a hundred meters lower than the archers.

This situation was very similar to "setting up archers on a hill in advance while concentrating cavalry at the base to defend the entire hill."

Edward was very good at this type of "mode anglais" formation.

"Prince, there appears, to be remnants."


Edward heard a warning in his ear.

There was a small doll sitting on Edward's shoulder. A young girl's voice came from its mouth.

The doll was a blonde girl dressed in a sailor outfit, small in size yet extremely intricate in construction. Possessing it was the genie Morrigan of the British armed forces.

Edward himself had also noticed the noesis. He looked at the direction he had detected it.

...South of Lake Ashi, there was a location named Hakone Pass.

Located was Hakone's second tutelary fort, a stronghold with star-shaped fortification walls, known in Imperial Japan as "Goryōkaku Fortress" style.

From the second tutelary fort, thirty-two Japanese Legions, the Kamuys, flew into the sky.

They were targeting the thousand Garter Knights in formation over Lake Ashi...

"This type of offensive is known as 'kamikaze' in Japan, isn't it?"

"Looks like it."

The commander and the genie's conversation ended here.

Unfazed, Edward had his wyvern descend. Flying swiftly over the surface of Lake Ashi, he went northeast.

In the water near the coast here was a red torii.

It was supposed to be the entrance to a Japanese Shinto shrine—Hakone Shrine—and a famous symbol.

When Edward spotted it earlier, he was drawn to the torii's exotic appeal and had decided to have a good look later.

The Black Prince was already impatient to go sightseeing. A battle erupted overhead.

...The thirty-two blue Kamuys charged in full force at the British Empire's black army.

...The Garter Knights in charge of interception was a team of roughly a hundred, on standby at low altitude.

...The two sides exchanged fire with their bayonet rifles.

...However, the archers also drew their bows at the same time. These three hundred black knights had set up their formation higher in the sky to overlook all of Hakone. The steel longbows in their left hands were extremely large, almost longer than the eight-meter height of Legions.

...Next, an arrow of light appeared simultaneously in each of the three hundred archers' right hands.

...The Kamuys locked in a shootout with the black knights at low altitude—i.e. the Kamuys whose advance was impeded—became the targets of the pitch-black archers firing in full force from a higher position.

...Like a shower of rain, the arrows of light mercilessly pierced the thirty-two Kamuys.

...Against the English arrows, the blue Japanese troop's protective barriers were as weak as paper.

...In merely a minute or two, the remnants of the Hakone defense force were all wiped out—

"There is no fun in fighting excessively weak enemies."

Edward muttered to himself, watching Imperial Japan' Legions die loyally.

He had effortlessly conquered the impregnable Hakone Checkpoint.

This was an amazing feat of victory, but Edward found little glory in it. He had simply led his army to attack the Hakone defense force, defeating them in a frontal assault, that was all.

It was merely a victory of brute force, relying on Chevalier Strength and elite troops.

Having demonstrated the capability of defeating an enemy army six times bigger than his own, the Black Prince would be embarrassed to brag about such a small victory...

As his thoughts reached this point, the legendary prince smiled wryly and said, "No, it was all thanks to God's blessing and the soldiers' valor that total victory was achieved. I must now praise my knights for their glorious efforts and suppress my desire for a contest of strategy."

Edward refreshed his mindset and said to the little girl spirit's simulacrum on his shoulder, "Morrigan, could you perform a search for me?"

"Please state."

"I heard that Hakone has been a popular spa area since ancient times. I'd like like to try a Japanese hot spring to erase the fatigue brought upon by battle. Help me find the hot spring with the best reputation."

"Understood. However."

"Is there a problem?"

"Yes. I would rather not, participate in... mixed bathing again."

"Hold on a second there. I swear upon my life that I am not a man who relies on a position of authority to make playthings out of young maidens. Besides, don't forget your body is a doll!"

"Objection. We high-level spirits, also have, human rights, more or less."

"Well, excuse me. Let me be clear with you. If anyone asked me if I preferred older or younger women, I definitely prefer older ladies!"

"I, see."

While Edward and his subordinate were chattering inconsequentially...

His wyvern mount was flying close to the surface of Lake Ashi. Instantly, the Black Prince keenly sensed noesis. There was faint but acute bloodlust aiming at his head.


Edward issued a simple order.

Immediately, a Garter Knight appeared next to the flying wyvern.

From the coast of Lake Ashi flew an incoming rifle bullet. The deadly projectile fired from a sniper's rifle was blocked by the British Legion's armor.

The black Legion retaliated using its bayonet rifle.

The flash of light blasted away the mixed tenant building on the lakeside, preventing the enemy from ever following up the attack again.

Presumably, the shooter was part of Hakone's defense force and a very experienced sniper at that.

"Delighted to see me all alone, huh? ...What a mistake. Sniping never works against a powerful Chevalier."

Edward had not sensed any bloodlust or noesis until the last second.

Furthermore, the enemy had fired an accurate headshot at a flying target from across a windy lake surface.

These points added up to show that an outstanding sniper was at work. Even so, the enemy already made a mistake the moment they thought sniping would work against a Chevalier of Edward's caliber. Had the target been a Japanese Chevalier lacking in practical combat experience or greenhorns among the British knights, the story would be different...

Even if Edward was enjoying his sightseeing and looked very relaxed, instantly returning to a battlefield mindset was not difficult. That was the kind of man he was.

Also of note, the Charter of Chivalry laid down many rules forbidding armed forces from attacking civilian structures. However, civilian structures used for military objectives were considered exceptions, which was why the retaliatory shot just now was totally legitimate.

"Oh right, that katana-using Chevalier I saw at Suruga last time... He demonstrated the same ability too."

A few days ago, Edward had come across "a man that was undoubtedly a strong foe."

Recalling that brief encounter, Edward grinned fearlessly. Apart from that man, Generalissimo Caesar was going to come to Japan from the Eastern Roman Empire eventually too.

Indeed, true war had hardly begun. This was only the prelude.

Part 4

It was the evening after Masatsugu took a ride on Rikka's car to the Suruga tutelary fort.

He and his liege, Shiori, had returned together to the Black Lily Dorm.

Although it was called a dorm, the whole building was reserved for the princess' exclusive use. Dressed in Haikara-san style with an apron on top, Hatsune was preparing dinner.

The menu included dried horse mackerel, turnip salad, boiled hijiki, pickles, rice, and miso soup.

After the simple dinner, Masatsugu and Shiori were alone. The two of them went to the reading room, which served as a sort of small library for boarders.

However, the princess simply stared at books on the shelves without speaking the whole time.

Masatsugu broke the silence.

"Is it possible that you're upset?"

"Of course not. What reason do I have to be upset?" Shiori replied instantly.

Her speech was quite rapid with an air of displeasure. Masatsugu went "I see," shrugged and did not say anything more.

Now the princess' expression really looked unhappy.

In public, Shiori always upheld her image of the gentle princess. It was only in front of Masatsugu that she expressed her sincerest emotions, sulking or losing her temper on reflex.

"But you've been unhappy ever since we left the tutelary fort. I was wondering whether the fall of Hakone was the reason you're upset."

"Of course not." Shiori shook her head immediately. "In order for the Restoration Alliance to march into Kantō, the first choke point is Hakone. I knew the situation would inevitably turn out this way, though the unexpected speed of their offense did surprise me... But this is no cause for me to be upset."

"In other words, you are upset from other reasons? Ah."

Masatsugu figured it out. Nodding, he said, "Then you are upset because Akigase-dono and I are too close?"


Masatsugu went straight to the point, causing the surprised Shiori to deny angrily, "Please do not suggest anything so preposterous!"

"All other reasons are unlikely. As your knight, Princess, I have been having friendly conversations with another girl to develop a relationship of mutual honesty. Witnessing that, you cannot help but feel jealous—This is the most convincing motive."


"That is why you've been upset this whole time."

"You are mistaken. I have remained calm all this time!"

The shaken Shiori denied firmly. Then replied in a kind of assertive tone, completely different in attitude from her usual gentleness or feigned docilty.

"Putting this aside, Masatsugu-sama, we have yet to do it today, have we? Let us go over there."

The princess' beautiful face was blushing.

Despite the heightened emotions in her heart, her tone was still relatively calm.

The two of them went to the table in the center of the reading room. Like the ones used in the school, the table was mundane office furniture. There were four pipe chairs next to it.

Of course, this furniture was meant for boarding students to study and do homework.

Ignoring the books, Masatsugu and Shiori sat down at the table together.

Shiori quietly extended her right hand and caressed Masatsugu's left hand. Their overlapping hands were perfectly hidden under the table.

"A high school couple keeping their relationship a secret, meeting in the library for a tryst, discreetly holding hands—"

What they were doing was very similar to that.

However, this was a necessary ritual. Unable to replenish ectoplasmic fluid the normal way, Tachibana Masatsugu had to rely on the mystic power found in Chevaliers or the kin of sacred beasts—

Masatsugu's body was very cold, almost akin to a state of hypothermia.

A chronic shortage of ectoplasmic fluid resulted in his body's lack of warmth. However, Shiori stroked Masatsugu's hand gently, trying to share her body warmth with him.

Doing this was effective.

The elegant and beautiful princess was transmitting warmth and mystic power through her palm.

Ever since their oath of fealty, they had been doing this secretly every day.

"On further thought, Hatsune knows about my memory loss too," Masatsugu muttered to himself. "We don't need to be secretive about this anymore."

"No! This must not be witnessed by others no matter what, it is too embarrassing..."

Shiori rejected the suggestion and bowed her head in shame.

During this time, she continued to stroke Masatsugu's hand gently. Their bodies were also leaning tightly against each other.

Undeniably, they currently looked like a very loving couple.

It came as no surprise that a maiden inexperienced in love would feel shy. Masatsugu understood the princess' misgivings and accepted her good intentions.

"Incidentally, Masatsugu-sama."


While continuing to warm up her knight, Shiori said, "Please do not ever speak so imprudently again as you did just now. I was honestly not upset and I would like you to refrain from arbitrary speculation about my thoughts."

"Was I mistaken? Sorry about that."

The princess' stubborn response was too adorable, what was he going to do with her—?

Harboring these disrespectful thoughts, Masatsugu apologized calmly.

"By the way, regarding Hakone..."

Holding Masatsugu's hand, Shiori changed the subject.

"The serious issue here is the fall of the impregnable Hakone in less than half a day. More worrying is—"

"The enemy commander's name?"

"Yes. When it comes to the British Empire's prided Resurrectees, there is none more prominent than Admiral Horatio Nelson, who managed to corner even Emperor Napoleon of France, whose name is synonymous to hero... He is a splendid and famous commander. And here in the land of Hakone, a hero of his equal has shown up."

The young knight had led an army of pitch-black Crusades, one thousand strong.

Those Legions were reportedly known as Knights of the Garter. The Feat of Arms transforming their bayonet rifles into longbows was named after the land of Crécy.

Combining all these reports, it was not difficult to deduce their commander's identity as Edward the Black Prince.

"To be honest, I've never heard of him."

"Neither have the majority of Japanese people. Of the ones who have, most merely would have read the name in a history textbook, nothing more. However, he is a legendary hero known to everyone in England."

Shiori smiled to hide her worries and explained the origins of the one bearing that name.

"As an English prince, he defeated the armies of France many times. In the end, he succumbed to illness, dying before he could succeed to the throne..."

Masatsugu only knew the man's name and a brief profile.

However, he was certain it was him. The night he repelled the Restoration Alliance, he had seen a silver-haired young man, riding a British wyvern.

The knight from that encounter must surely have been Prince Edward.

Perhaps this was a Resurrectee's instinct. Masatsugu felt inexplicably certain.

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