Another… sponsered chapter… O.O\
We are happy you like this story so much! Now I really have to get back to my homework =(
So enjoy this without me! ❤
Chapter 2, Episode 1: Departure
Imperial Year 1023, July 13.
Fort Belk, Central Tower. A young girl’s shrill voice echoed out.
「Hiro~! Where are you~?」
A crimsoned haired young girl was running around the third floor of the central tower with concern in her voice, like a mother looking for her lost child.
Seeing the Imperial Princess running around before their eyes, the patrol soldiers hold back laughter.
With this, the Sixth Imperial Princess’s dignity is out the window, but her popularity with the soldiers is currently going up as a friendly member of the Imperial family.
The crimson sword, 「Laevateinn」, was hanging by her waist, and in her long, slender, beautiful hand was an envelope.
It can be surmised from the gold and red colors that the envelope was once dazzling.
Unfortunately, it had transformed into something that was hard to distinguish as a result of her grip.
「Hi~ro~! Geez, where did you go?!」
Having newly been appointed the commanding officer not too long ago, this fort is like a maze to her.
And so, it’s difficult for her to search for one person. She has no choice but to look for him while shouting out.
「Grr… It’s Hiro we’re talking about, so I thought he’d be on the third floor.」
The third floor of the tower has mainly been turned into a storage area.
Because it’s spacious with few rooms, books and tools are stored on this floor.
It also currently serves as Cerberus’s den, so it has become a problem where soldiers who come unannounced are threatened by his presence.
「I wonder if I should try going back to Hiro’s room…」
As she thought this, a door opened to a dimly lit room further in.
From there, Cerberus came out, and behind him was Hiro, stifling a yawn.
Hiro’s face turns towards Liz. It’s rather difficult to make out his expression because of the eyepatch covering half his face.
Liz rushed over to the approaching young boy.
「I was looking for you.」
「Oh,sorry. There was something I wanted to look up over there.」
Hiro turned back and looked towards the room which was filled with material on the fort’s history.
Hmm~ Liz takes a glance at the door over Hiro’s shoulder, then places her hands on her waist.
「It’s nice that you’re passionate about your studies, but make sure you tell me where you’re going.」
After Hiro complained about the abnormality of his eye, Liz had become a bit overprotective.
Unsure of whether or not to consider her a worrywort now, Hiro smiled slightly.
「I’ll be careful next time. So what’s wrong?」
「Oh, right. This.」
Liz held out an object that could be considered trash.
Hiro took the long, thin, crumpled item and opened it cautiously.
Although it was obviously a letter, you could hardly tell because it didn’t maintain the shape of one.
「This is a letter, right?」
「It’s a letter from father.」
「… A letter from the emperor?」
「Why does it look— like a piece of trash?」
「Ahh, I did that.」
Hiro dropped his shoulders and sighed. It was a sigh filled with a deep sadness.
「Was there something bad written in it?」
「I didn’t read the contents. It’s addressed to you.」
「… To me?」
「Remember? Me, Aura, and my uncle sent out a letter of protest about my brother’s actions, right?」
「Now that you mention it, you guys did stay up all night writing that.」
「A reply finally came for it.」
Liz is enraged that it came at nearly a snail’s pace. Even now, she looks about ready to stomp her feet.
Hiro looked at the letter and tilted his head.
Liz and the others were the ones who sent the protest letter.
So he had no idea why the reply came to him.
Since Aura probably hasn’t arrived in the west yet, it should have come to Margrave Grinda or Liz.
「Well, I’ll find out once I open it.」
He undid the seal while praying the contents were harmless.
There was a single sheet of white paper. There are creases, but it isn’t as bad as the envelope.
He opens the folded up paper…
I have learned the gist of the situation from my beloved daughter.
I have also heard of the battle with Lichtein.
I would like to praise you for your deeds, but there is something that lies heavier on my mind.
I wish to ascertain the credibility of your being a descendant of the Second Emperor.
After doing so, I will hand down an appropriate punishment unto the First Imperial Prince.
And so, I would like for you to come to the Imperial capital.
48th Emperor, Greiheit.
「What did it say?」
「It says to come to the Imperial capital because he wants to praise me for my deeds.」
「What about my brother?」
「That he’ll hand down an appropriate punishment.」
「Yes! Well, think about what he did to you. That’s to be expected!」
The corners of Hiro’s eyes softened at the sight of Liz jumping up and down for joy.
Hiro goes into thought after reading over the letter once more.
(The Imperial capital, huh…)
He doesn’t know what awaits him there. He will likely have to be cautious when he goes.
As Hiro watches Liz jump up and down, he shakes his head and decides he can’t possibly take her with him.
(But, she’ll probably tag along…)
Looking back at how she’s been treating Hiro lately, it’s likely she’ll tag along with him no matter what.
As he was thinking of how to convince her not to, she stopped jumping.
She turned around, and her eyes were twinkling.
「Hiro, we have to hurry and get ready.」
Just as he thought. She’s just bursting at the seams to go with him.
「You can’t. You’re the commanding officer here. Besides, it wasn’t written here for you to come, too.」
Liz— If he takes the Sixth Imperial Princess with him, it’ll turn into a big deal.
Unlike before, it’s no doubt safe because the Emperor is there, but just in case, he has to have her stay.
Plus, Hiro would feel better if she stayed because the Fourth Imperial Army has their watchful eyes on Margrave Grinda’s territory.
「Eh—… I want to go with you.」
It made him want to take her after she puffed her cheeks in protest, but regardless, she still can’t go…. is what Hiro tells himself.
「We can’t say the area around Fort Belk is safe yet. It would mean trouble if you, the commanding officer, weren’t here if there was a problem, right? And there are a bunch of documents piled up. There are some that need your signature.」
He was thinking she just needed one more push… But Hiro came up with a bright idea.
「All right, fine. If you really want to come with me, you have to finish your work.」
「Eh—… Tris will do it for me.」
「Tris is… you know, he has muscles for brains, so, it’s hard to say this, but paperwork doesn’t suit him.」
「It doesn’t suit me either, you know.」
「Right… That’s true, but you’re better off than Tris. You can do it.」
Hiro wanted to cry. He prayed for an exceptional administrative officer to become one of her subordinates.
For now, he’ll try asking the emperor after he arrives in the Imperial capital.
「… I can go with you if I finish my work?」
Hiro cleared his throat at Liz, who was looking at him with upturned eyes.
As he restrains his urge to hold her, Hiro opens his mouth.
「O-Of course. So hurry up and go.」
「Alright! It’s a promise! I’ll go finish up that paperwork and be right back!」
「… It’s not an amount you can finish in one day though.」
Hiro muttered to himself as he gazed at her leaving while waving her hand.
As he tried to head to his room to prepare to leave for the capital, he noticed Cerberus by his feet, looking at him with accusing eyes.
「I-I’m not lying… I’ll really take her with me if she finishes her work today.」
It’s just simply not an amount of work that can be done in one day.
Hiro ran off as if he were escaping.
Cerberus let out a yawn and began to drift off.
It was around the time when all but the night watchmen were asleep.
There was a suspicious person in the hallway of the second floor of Fort Belk’s central tower.
The man, who was moving quietly while sticking to the wall, reached a faintly lit room.
As he holds his breath and peeps in through the opening of the door, he sees a girl sleeping on a work desk piled with documents.
The man’s lips form a smile and he places his hand on the door knob.
「What are you doing?」
The suspicious person hears a voice come from behind him, and in a panic, he distances himself from the speaker.
The face of the large man holding a lamp in one hand completely changed from one of puzzlement to indignation.
「You bastard… Were you planning to attack the princess?!」
「N-No! That’s not it, so be quiet! Liz is going to wake up!」
「… Not just once, not twice, not even thrice, but a fourth time now?」
「They’re all misunderstandings.」
The suspicious person— Hiro is angry at the false accusation.
Tris drew his sword and approached Hiro.
「Hmph, well… I’ll listen to your excuse at least.」
Unlike before, just the fact that he’s willing to listen shows that he may have mellowed out.
Hiro let out a sigh of relief and explained the situation.
「Hmm. You were trying to make sure the princess was asleep before you left?」
「That’s right. I can’t possible take Liz with me, right?」
「That is true. I would also like the princess to remain here. Putting that aside, you’re a descendant of the Second Emperor, boy. You should be allowed a small escort.」
「Even if you and Liz believe me, there are probably more people who doubt me, the Emperor included. An escort might cause unnecessary provocation, so I think it’s better not to take one.」
Until he is acknowledged by the Emperor, he is less than a commoner. He should be as submissive as possible.
If Liz is to fulfill her dream, they need make more friends than foes.
Keeping the future in mind, he wants to avoid making any bad impressions.
「Aren’t you worrying too much? Besides, you’re the only one with black hair and black eyes, boy. That alone might serve as proof.」
「Anyone can make themselves out to look like they have black hair and black eyes.」
If push comes to shove, he’s even thinking of taking out 「Excalibur」, but he’s going to save that for when he has no other options.
An audience with the Emperor. There’s a high chance that First Prince Schtobel will be there as well.
If he took out 「Excalibur」 before the Emperor, there would be an uproar about an assassination no doubt.
That man would likely come attacking, no questions asked. That would lead to a worst case scenario.
Schtobel would become a hero who protected the Emperor, and Liz would be executed as one who sent an assassin.
The place which Hiro is heading for, is the Imperial Palace, a whirlpool of various desires.
There’s no harm in worrying too much.
「Okay, I’ll be leaving now.」
「All right. Are you sure you don’t need an escort?」
「Yes, it’s okay.」
「But you can’t ride a horse, can you, boy? What are you planning to do?」
「I’m planning to go meet Margrave Grinda by foot.」
He’s pretty certain there was a stagecoach in Links.
Hiro was thinking of riding that to the Imperial capital.
「Then I’ll give you something nice. Follow me.」
Tris smirked in a menacing way. After turning his back to Hiro, he briskly walked into the darkness.
Though Hiro tilted his head in confusion, he followed after him.