Hi all ^^!
Please thank the kind soul who donated and brought you an extra chapter! ❤
And it is super long one! I believe it is the longest we ever did O.O\.
Unfortunately, we do not have any more extra chapters to release >_<
So please beware that there might be a delay in the next chapters ;-; (not the next one , but after it for sure).
Please forgive us with this long chapter xP
Chapter 3, Episode 2: Unusual Event in the Northern Region
The Grantz Grand Empire’s vast territory is divided into five regions: the northern region, the eastern region, the central region, the western region, and the southern region. Of these, the northern region is governed by the nobles of the north, led by the Charme house, one of the Five Great Nobles.
Their headquarters, <<Liznriller>>* is located at the center of the northern region.
TL note: Kanji is silver castle.
The temperature north of there is extremely low, and they suffer harsh weather. In contrast, the south side is relatively warm, and people mainly live there. There is fertile black soil spreading throughout the southern region, and this is what supports the wealth of the Charme house.
If you head 152 sels (456 km) east of <<Liznriller>>, you will reach the country of zorostas.
The zorostas are a race who conquered the central continent a thousand years ago.
But the humans stood in revolt against their tyrannical rule, and the other races followed their lead, and this resulted in a great war— In the end, the zorostas suffered defeat and were forced away to a southern archipelago.
However, one group of zorostas chose to stay on the central continent in order to save their brethren who were late in escaping.
The nation which was founded by these zorostas who remained was the Revering Kingdom.
But because they had relations with other races over a long period of time, most of the children that are born now possess hardly any magic— not even any of the royal family is pure blooded— and as the generations pass, they become closer and closer to humans. This is the reality of their present situation.
In order to protect their race from outside invaders, <<Tiani>>*, the greatest fortress city, is surrounded by a deep moat, has two types of castle walls fortifying it on the inside, and has a suspension bridge at its one and only entrance, all establishing the perfect defensive layout. And looking down from a hill within the city walls is <<Tiaru>>, the king’s palace.
TL note: Kanji for Tiani is purple snow district and Tiaru is metallic purple palace.
The city streets are decorated with thick snow and looks like a beautiful white sheet, giving off a sense of dignity to the people. Everyone who sees this view under the bright sun sighs in wonder— that is, if they get a clear day.
Imperial Year 1023, September 14.
It was a very cold day.
The sun rising in the eastern sky is obstructed by clouds, preventing it from reaching the surface.
Strong winds howl like beasts as they pound on the walls of people’s houses blowing away piles of snow.
Even the stands which normally line the main road are closed. It is completely deserted. There isn’t a single sign of anyone walking about. This was because everyone was holed up in their house praying with their hands over the fireplace, waiting for the snowstorm to pass.
Despite the stormy weather, a banquet was being held in the king’s hall, <<Tiaru>>.
An extravagant chandelier hung from the ceiling, illuminating the inside of the room.
There is joy on the faces of the people bathing in the scattered light. There was a long table lined with more than twenty different dishes, and silver goblets reflecting a complex, charming light from the light of the chandelier.
Surrounding the table were nobles in friendly banter with wine in hand.
「Really, I’m at a loss. To think a snowstorm would befall us on such a joyous day.」
「There’s no need to be kept down by these evil winds. It may be that the heavens are blessing us.」
「Indeed. They say on the day we zorostas were born, there was a disaster great enough to split the earth in two.」
「I see… If you think about it, perhaps you can consider today to be a fortuitous one.」
「Precisely. We should be celebrating her Highness the princess turning 16 today.」
After one of the nobles said this, all eyes turned to the princess sitting near the throne.
Claudia van Revering.
Her bangs are a metallic purple cut neatly above her eyebrows, and in the back, her hair is long enough to reach her waist.
From her eyes which give off a certain charm, if you travel down her well formed nose, your attention is drawn to plump, peach-colored lips. With her delicate features which look so magically beautiful, it’s no wonder the citizens call her 「Vernes」*.
TL note: Kanji is “metallic purple princess”.
「I doubt that beauty of hers would lose even to the Sixth Imperial Princess of the Grantz Grand Empire.」
「Have you ever seen her?」
「No, no, I’ve only heard rumors.」
「Rumors tend to embellish the truth. Her beauty may pale before our own princess.」
「Speaking of which, I heard something along the lines that the Sixth Imperial Princess brought in a descendant of the Second Emperor under her ranks.」
「I’ve heard that rumor a number of times myself. Not only do they say he drove away the Lichtein Dukedom’s invasion, but that he even set out for revenge and achieved a huge victory.」
「Ohh, how fearsome… I wonder if that means the blood of that 「Mars」 has not grown weak.」
「We are marrying into that country. I don’t believe there is any need to fear him.」
「But I’m a bit uneasy about the groom.」
「The First Imperial Prince, is it… Indeed, I hear he is under house arrest or something of the sort.」
「It seems he has a problematic personality, which causes me to worry for the future of the princess.」
「It would have been nice if we could marry her to the descendant of 「Mars」.」
「There’s no point in bringing that up now. It’s already been decided… The only thing we can do is to pray for her Highness the princess’s happiness.」
「My lords, are you enjoying yourselves?」
Said a kind looking man with a slender face as he forced his way through the nobles who were in conversation.
He has on a gorgeous overcoat and there is an air of refinement about him. He has the feel of an upper class noble.
His features gave the impression of an adult, but if you only looked at his figure, you might think he was a young boy.
Fraus van Revering.
He is the heir of the Revering Kingdom.
The crown prince, who is actually over 30, would be considered to be in the prime of his life in human terms, and the reason he doesn’t seem old is probably because the zorosta blood is strong in him.
After noticing him, the nobles around him straightened up and took a deep bow.
「Well, if it isn’t your Highness the crown prince. We lower class nobles are extremely delighted that you would even invite us here.」
「Stop that. All of you, lift your heads. I don’t want to see your stiff expression on a day like this.」
After saying this in a playful tone, Crown Prince Fraus drinks his wine in one gulp, walks to the table to grab a bottle, and returns to the nobles.
「Now, drink. It would sadden my sister if you all weren’t enjoying yourselves.」
Crown Prince Fraus tilts the bottle and pours wine into the goblets of the lords.
「But this sure is extravagant. My enthusiasm… I can feel it seeping out from my skin. Are all the nobles of the country gathered here?」
「There’s the fact that my sister is welcoming adulthood… but the biggest reason is likely the fact that we’re marrying into the Grantz Imperial family.」
Crown Prince Fraus tilted his glass to the nobles as he smiled proudly.
The wine swishes around and causes rippling in the goblet.
「Most importantly, she may end up becoming the empress. This will be our only chance to speak with someone of such personage.」
「Well… that is true, but…」
Seeing the nobles respond in a somehow uncertain attitude, Crown Prince Fraus realized his faux pas.
「Hmm… What exactly is disconcerting—」
Crown Prince Fraus knit his brows and placed his hand on his chin. Then, he immediately looked at the noble’s face as if he understood.
「Could it be that you’re worried about that rumor?」
「… Yes. I’m wondering if it is not dangerous for all the nobles of the country to be gathered in one spot like this.」
「There’s nothing to worry about. Security is tighter than usual. There are five hundred soldiers posted within the palace, and over one hundred crammed into the king’s hall.」
Said Crown Prince Fraus, before looking around the area.
Along the walls of the first floor, there are palace guards who keeping watch for any suspicious characters slipping in. If you look to the second floor, there is a band playing elegant music with the instruments in their hands, and even behind them were a pair of soldiers on patrol.
There are no gaps. After nodding satisfied, Crown Prince Fraus gently pat the noble’s shoulder.
「The Asuras* are in command of the security force. Not even a single rat could sneak in here.」
TL Note: Kanji is “three demon generals”.
Asuras are the guardians of the Revering Kingdom, and it is a title bestowed up the strongest warriors.
They possess the magical foci, which are national treasures, and they boast extraordinary battle strength. Their names are known even in the Lichtein Dukedom in the distant south.
「Also, the soldiers of the lords here are standing guard outside the palace. What is there to be worried about?」
At that moment, cheers rose from the right, and an extravagant door connecting the king’s hall to a corridor opened up. Three warriors entered, but by the time Crown Prince Fraus turned to look at them, they had already disappeared into a swarm of people.
But Crown Prince Fraus could hear the word coming from the mouths of the lords, loud and clear.
The word they all said in unison was Asura.
「Our heroes has come.」
The wall of nobles split in two. From the open space, came a tall man.
He started for where Crown Prince Fraus was, while another put his arms around some ladies approaching him and continued his friendly chatting. The final man was leaning against a wall near the door and keeping silent.
Crown Prince Fraus called out to the tall man.
「I’m glad you came. How is security?」
「There are no problems.」
The man’s name is Garius van Sazand.
He is one of the three Asuras and he holds the title of Solder*.
TL note: Kanji is battle demon.
「I doubt even a single enemy could enter the premises.」
Garius said with a hand on his sword handle. Embedded on the pommel was the source of magic— a large purple crystal. This is a magic stone left behind by one of the founding zorostas who acted as king.
After the Revering Kingdom was established, weapons were created by the magic stones which belonged to the founding zorostas. These weapons were called the magical foci, and they were lent to the Asuras. One of these weapons is the magic sword which Garius possesses, Milgress.
「That’s reassuring. But what are the three Asuras doing here? I doubt you like this sort of scene.」
「Since it was such a rare occasion, we thought we would enjoy ourselves as well… Though it seems he was planning to participate from the beginning.」
Garius’s gaze points to a certain person.
Asura Haniel van Wentzell.
He presides over the title of Schutzer*, and is entrusted with the magic sword Hauteclaire.
TL note: Kanji is guardian demon.
He monopolizes everyone’s gaze with his good looks, and his skillful conversational skills which delights the ladies, fans the envy of the men around him.
But his monopoly doesn’t continue for long.
「He should be coming to greet you soon.」
Anyone close to Haniel would know this, but…
「You can tell?」
It seems it wasn’t something Crown Prince Fraus knew why.
「It was quick this time.」
「Hmm…? What do you mean by that?」
Right as Crown Prince Fraus reacted to Garius’s words, the ladies around Haniel immediately left him. Not understanding what just happened, Crown Prince Fraus looked back and forth between Haniel and Garius.
「If I had to give a reason, it would be that Haniel always has a slip of the tongue in the end.」
「Slip of the tongue?」
「Yes. I think it’s best to ask the man himself for more details.」
After a short while, with slouched shoulders and a bitter smile, Haniel appeared before Crown Prince Fraus.
「I apologize for the late greeting.」
「It’s fine. More importantly, there’s something I’d like for you to explain.」
After looking confused, Haniel noticed Garius standing beside Crown Prince Fraus.
「I see. So Sir Sazand has put ideas in your head.」
Perhaps he understood the situation, as Haniel gracefully placed his hand along his chin.
「You should not believe the words of Sir Sazand. He is normally reticent, but becomes loquacious when he lies..」
「Don’t speak ill of others. All I did was state the truth.」
Garius’s character was put into question, but he didn’t seem to take any offense.
「I would like to know why all the women left you all at once, Sir Wentzell…」
Crown Prince Fraus added that it was for future reference as well.
Haniel hesitated, but he brushed his bangs up and cast his eyes downward as if troubled.
「I simply told them they were like flies.」
「… Why did you say such a thing?」
「Because those women swarming around my beauty were like flies.」
「… I see.」
Above Crown Prince Fraus who sighed in disappointment, the band began to play a festive tune.
The performance changes from a quiet one to a boisterous one, and the air in the king’s hall grows wild.
The nobles hesitated only for a moment. Without noticing that something was amiss, they end up cheering, possibly because they were starting to become inebriated.
「Time sure does fly. I wanted to learn more about your conversational skills, but—」
The pouting Crown Prince Fraus gulps his wine.
After a short while, he slammed his goblet on the table.
As he does, his expression completely changes. His steady eyes circled the area.
「— Shall we begin?」
「Then, I shall go to the messengers from the Grantz Grand Empire. Crown Prince Fraus, please go to the king with Haniel.」
Garius shows no sign of hesitation as he announces this, as if this was planned beforehand.
Haniel nods silently, and a ghastly smile forms on Crown Prince Fraus.
「Yes, don’t let a single one of them escape.」
Crown Prince Fraus answers curtly and steps lightly towards the throne with Haniel.
Along the way, he took a sword from one of the palace guards. Then, he jumps across the stairs leading to the throne.
The king, who was seated on the throne, saw Crown Prince Fraus’s hand gripping the handle and sighed as if he sensed something.
Then, he slowly turns his gaze to the princess.
Noticing her brother’s bloodlust, Claudia puts her hand to her mouth and her expression changes.
After shaking his head slightly, the king stares at Crown Prince Fraus.
「Fraus… What business do you have with such a dangerous object in your hand?」
「Father, there is something I would like to discuss with you.」
Crown Prince Fraus raises his right hand. The hands of the band members stop, and the performance ceases.
Noticing something unusual is unfolding, the nobles focus their gaze on the throne.
「Father, you are neither a wise ruler nor a foolish one. You were nothing more than a mediocre king. Were this a peaceful age, that may have been fine.」
A blade emitting a sharp light emerged from the scabbard. Unsure if they are watching a show, the nobles begin to stir, and a tense air weighs heavily on their bodies.
「But the age that is to come is different. If we do as we are told by the Grantz Grand Empire, our world will not be a pleasant one. We zorostas must become independent. And for that to happen, this is the only way. I feel it’s quite unfortunate, but… I believe you’ll understand, Father.」
「… I see. You speak of such a solemn matter. If you had not been making that face, I might have been convinced.」
After the king pointed this out, Crown Prince Fraus took one hand and covered his face which was twisted in joy.
「My apologies… I’m unable to contain my pleasure. Because the throne will finally fall into my hands.」
「Are those your true feelings?」
Crown Prince Fraus lowered his bloodshot eyes and looked down at the king.
「— You senile old fool. Die and hand over the throne already.」
As he flashed the sharp sword tip, it pierced through the king’s chest.
It happened in an instant. Unable to dodge it, blood dripped out from the king’s mouth, while his eyes were wide open in surprise. As the sword is pulled out, drops of blood scattered from the red blade and onto the floor.
Crown Prince Fraus’s body shakes as if he is drunk on ecstacy.
He takes another step forward, and thrusts the blade even deeper into the king’s body and with more force than before.
「Puhahaha. Don’t die just yet. Experience and savor all my pain before you go.」
A shriek escapes from Princess Claudia’s mouth, but it’s drowned out by the screams of the nobles.
Behind Crown Prince Fraus— the palace guards were attacking the upper class nobles. Among them, were also middle and lower class nobles, and after forcing the wives and daughters of the upper class nobles to the ground, the sound of mad laughter could be heard.
From a place of soothing calm, the king’s hall completely transformed into a one filled with atrocity and the stench of blood.
「No need to feel lonely. Many nobles will be following after you.」
「… I knew it. You’re…」
「The nobles are at fault for prattling on with their jokes like that. I end up having to take appropriate measures. The one who pushed me over the edge is you!」
「I return those words right back at you.」
As Crown Prince Fraus moistened his lips with his tongue, he pulled the sword from the king’s body and touched the blade to his neck. It digs in slowly, as if sinking into a swamp.
The king spit out bubbles of blood, but he did not scream.
It was not his pride as a king which held it back, but the fact that he was already dead.
Crown Prince Fraus, who looked bored as he cut off the king’s head, casually picked it up and tossed it before Claudia’s feet.
「Even kings and parents are nothing but lumps of flesh in that state. No different from livestock. Don’t you think so?」
Claudia held the king’s head and shrieked. This too was lost in the screams of the people, and it was impossible to tell which scream belonged to who.
Crown Prince Fraus approached Claudia and violently pulled her hair.
「No need to feel lonely. Father is gone now, but I’m here. You won’t be completely free, but you won’t be restrained, either..」
There were no traces of her normally kind older brother. Waves of lust were surging from his eyes.
「I’m not handing you over to the Grantz Grand Empire. You didn’t want to go either, right? So just leave everything to me. I won’t do anything bad.」
Crown Prince Fraus clearly saw his little sister Claudia as a woman.
He forces Claudia up, wraps his arms around her slender waist, and draws her in.
「We’ll always be together from now on. For us—」
Crown Prince Fraus’s words were cut mid sentence. This was because he noticed the necklace on Claudia’s chest.
「Why— do you have that?」
A low, trembling voice comes out from Crown Prince Fraus.
He was staring at the necklace as if to burn its image into his eyes. Claudia used that chance to push Crown Prince Fraus away.
After a space opened between the two, Claudia grasped her necklace tightly to protect it.
「B-Brother, what is the meaning of this exactly?」
「Hand that over. There’s no point in you carrying that.」
「Please answer me! Why did you kill Father?! And why would you do this to the lords…?」
「There’s no need for you to know. You should just be quiet and do as I say.」
「P-Please don’t come near me…」
Crown Prince Fraus started to approach Claudia while she drew back, but his legs stopped mid way.
「Can I ask that you stop right there?」
Asura Haniel was standing between the two to intervene.
「Sir Wentzell… What are you playing at?」
「I was unable to stand to look at your repulsive face.」
The magic sword Hauteclaire was drawn, and it’s tip was locked dead onto Crown Prince Fraus’s face.
Flustered, Crown Prince Fraus steps back and creates distance between them.
「You bastard, are you planning to betray me?!」
「Haha, again you say such a strange thing. I don’t recall becoming your ally.」
Haniel lowered his waist and bent over.
While holding his sword horizontally, he twists at the waist and draws the blade along his left hand.
Before these refine movements, Crown Prince Fraus sensed he was serious and was clearly panicked.
「Is there a need to wait?」
He unleashes a flurry of attacks with swift movements.
Unable to dodge, Crown Prince Fraus’s right arm left a trail of blood behind it as it flew in midair.
「Gaaaahhhh! M-My arm… A-Ahh!」
「Unsightly. There’s a limit to how unattractive one can be. Even if in name only, you are a crown prince, so you should grit your teeth and endure it.」
「Y-You bastard. I won’t forgive you. I’ll kill you!」
「You say such strange things. Aren’t you the one who is about to die?」
Haniel slant his sword, then shakes the blood off.
「Should I take that filthy head of yours next?」
As Haniel takes a step forward, a head without its body goes flying past his left hand. It skips a few times on the floor and comes to a stop from the pull of gravity.
There are four heads with faces twisted in pain. Both Haniel and Crown Prince Fraus recognize them.
They are the messengers from the Grantz Grand Empire.
「Why did you kill the messengers?」
The one who said this was Crown Prince Fraus.
This was clearly not done on his instructions, seeing as how he was flustered.
「My apologies. When I tried to politely evacuate them, they resisted, so I reaped their heads.」
「Wh-What have you done?! Are you trying to stir up trouble with the Grantz Grand Empire?!」
「I will speak with you regarding that at a later time.」
Crown Prince Fraus continued to shout, but the tall man— Garius ignored him and climbed up the stairs.
The image of his entire body covered in blood looked like that of a demon. But there’s no way he would be in such a horrific state simply from cutting off the heads of four people. Unless he purposely bathed himself in a spray of blood— it’s clear he laid a hand on more than just the messengers.
「Now, I’ll be your opponent from this point, Haniel… is what I’d like to say.」
Suspicious of Garius who stopped in his tracks, Haniel readied himself.
「No, behind you.」
Haniel’s body shook. There was an arrow pierced into his back, and a second one came flying towards him aimed between his brows. He successfully dodged it, but an intense pain distorts his face, and Haniel falls onto one knee.
「L-Look at me… How unsightly.」
At the end of Haniel’s gaze stood a man with a bow in hand.
Asura, Bahl van Bitenia.
He presides over the title of Fulmenti*, and is the possessor of the demon bow Failnaught.
TL note: Kanji is wise demon.
「Bahl’s skill with the bow is first class. Even in a place packed with people like this, he accurately captures his target. You mustn’t forget that. Showing such an unsightly figure. You’re going to make the Shutzer name weep.」
「… Hehe. Don’t you think I look beautiful when I spill blood, too?」
「I’m impressed, the way you spew those quips while cornered. But do you plan to fight like that? Against me?」
「I can’t say that would be wise. I’m not that much of a fool.」
「So, what will you do?」
「I’ll retreat beautifully.」
「Just try it!」
Haniel dropped his body and dodged Garius’s attack, then stood to switch to the offensive.
They were evenly matched for the first blow, the second, all the way up to the tenth, but gradually, the injured Haniel is pushed back.
Even during all this, many nobles were killed in the king’s hall, and the free palace guards had come to the throne.
「What’s the matter? Weren’t you going to retreat beautifully?!」
「Sir Garius, did you forget the role of Shutzer?」
「You’ve forgotten about your feet.」
By the time Garius noticed, it was too late. He was already corned at the edge of the stairs.
「Shutzer is the royal family’s shield. No matter what sort of crisis they’re put in, they will always find a means of escape. You mustn’t forget that.」
Haniel kicks one of Garius’s legs.
Garius loses his footing on the stairs and loses his balance. Not one to let such a huge opening escape him, Haniel instantly unleashes a front kick on Garius’s body.
Without even looking at Garius as he tumbled down, Haniel turned around and rushed to Claudia.
「Your Highness, please gather your senses. You must escape from here as quickly as possible.」
「There’s no time to hesitate. Most importantly, what is there for you to do here? If you’ll allow me to say this, there is nothing you can do as you are now. In order to exact retribution for your father as well, you must escape from this place.」
Claudia hesitated only for a moment. Her eyes gave off a strong light as she stood up.
Claudia pulls Haniel’s hand, and they arrive directly behind the throne. On the wall is draped a curtain with the crest of the country. As Claudia casually turns it over, an iron door appears.
But there was no handle or openings on the door, and it simply looked like it was inlaid into the wall.
There’s no time to pry it open. Haniel spoke with a bewildered voice.
「Is this not a sealed door?」
「No, Father told me that it will open if I use this.」
Claudia removed the magic stone attached to her necklace.
This was not a relic of the founding zorostas, but a magic stone left by the first king of the Revering Kingdom.
Because it is something inherited by each succeeding king— it is called 「Krone」*, the mark of the king. It takes on a brilliant light when light shines upon it, and so is called the golden amethyst. Even among magic stones, it is extremely rare.
TL note: Kanji is valuable stone. German for crown.
Claudia inserts the golden amethyst into a depression in the center of the door. As she does, it lets out a heavy sound and the door opens on its own.
「Though, I don’t know where it leads to…」
「Let us pray it leads to an exit. Quickly—」
Haniel pushed Claudia’s back in a hurry.
This was because several arrows were weaving through the palace guards as they approached them.
The door closes. Immediately, a number of arrows pierce into the door and the palace guards rush it.
「There’s no handle!」
「Pry it open with your sword tip!」
「It’s no use. I don’t see any openings!」
「Ridiculous. Then how are you saying they opened it?!」
Unable to comprehend the situation, the palace guards fall into confusion.
「What are you doing?! Hurry and chase after them!」
Crown Prince Fraus’s angry yelling resounded throughout the hall. His breathing is rough, partly because he’s riled up, but there’s also the fact that he lost an arm.
The palace guards open a path for Crown Prince Fraus, and stood before the iron door.
「What is this…?」
「It seems it won’t open for one who does not possess 「Krone」.」
Garius appeared behind Crown Prince Fraus who was touching the door.
「… I never heard about this being here.」
「It is likely knowledge that is only passed down to successor kings.」
「Damn it, if Claudia gets away, the plan will end in failure! And she even got away with 「Krone」! And after all the time I’ve spent preparing for this!!」
Crown Prince Fraus kicks the door to let out his frustration.
Garius stood behind him and whispered.
「It will not fail.」
「How can you be so sure?!」
「Compose yourself. You will die from blood loss if you get so riled up.」
「To begin with, why are you—」
As Crown Prince Fraus lets his anger take over him and he turns around, the one standing before him was not Garius— it was a hooded zorosta. In his hand, he held the demon bow Failnaught.
It is Asura, Bahl van Bitenia.
「Do not fret. If we’ve lost one path, all we have to do is create another one. We have but one destination.」
Crown Prince Fraus is overpowered by the unfathomably deep atmosphere around Bahl and his anger dies out.
Bahl has never exposed his bare face to anyone. He always wears a hood as if he is afraid of being seen by people. There are some who believe his face is either extremely repulsive, or that he has the features of the gods who live in heaven. There were more than a few people who felt it was dangerous to have such a mysterious character as a pillar for their country, but the reason he keeps his position as Asura regardless of this is that his earnest and unique ingenuity is regularly employed for the prosperity of the country.
「When the snow storm clears tomorrow, we will first explain the situation to the people. Drawing this out will be enough to cause suspicions to grow.」
Crown Prince Fraus was no exception. He put his trust in Bahl’s ingenuity as well.
「How should we explain this?」
「Before that, let us receive treatment for your arm.」
Bahl told one of the palace guards to call for a doctor, and instructed Garius to search for a place that might connect to the escape path.
After watching Garius leave, Crown Prince Fraus sat himself on the throne and summoned a palace guard. After instructing them to bring him wine and fruit, he urged Bahl to continue.
「So, how should I explain to the citizens?」
「Let’s see. We’ll tell them that the messengers from the Grantz Grand Empire and the upper class nobles had ties, and not only did they assassinate the king, but kidnapped the princess as well. If we explain it this way, it will only be for a short while, but the focus of the people will be elsewhere.」
「… What do we do about Claudia?」
「It’s fine as long as we capture her before she leaves the country. However, if she ends up escaping, in all likelihood, she will head for the Grantz Grand Empire. That is the only path left for her.」
「If she took refuge in the Grantz Grand Empire… that would be bad. She has 「Krone」.」
「If it comes to that, it would give the Grantz Grand Empire just cause to come attack us, and they probably will.」
「If that happens, the people will call me an usurper! Many of the nobles within the country will turn sides, too!」
「We will make our move before that happens.」
「Can we do it?」
As Bahl’s lips split into a crescent shape, he nods slightly.
「Let us attack the Grantz Grand Empire. We will assemble soldiers at the national border and demand the return of the princess. We will make a grand gesture and show them that we have the just cause.」
「R-Ridiculous… Fight the Grantz Grant Empire you say?!」
「Oh, does that scare you?」
Bahl’s tone somehow seemed provocative, but after taking a sip of his wine, Crown Prince Fraus’s lips trembled.
「Of course. I never planned to stir up any trouble with them from the beginning. The northern region of the Grantz Grand Empire has the Fifth Imperial Army with 80,000 soldiers. Even if we had time to gather soldiers, we’d have 40,000. There’s no way we can win.」
「That’s only if they’re concentrated in one place. If they’re scattered, it doesn’t mean a thing. Most of all, there is importance in 「Freidhof」* in the western side of the northern region. It will take time for the Fifth Imperial Army’s main unit to rush over.」
TL note: Kanji is spirit wall.
「Are you saying we can win?」
Crown Prince Fraus’s eyes were brimming with hope, but Bahl indifferently spoke the truth.
「There’s no way we can win. It might have been possible for that 「Mars」, but unfortunately, I am unexceptional.」
「Then… What do we do?」
「— We can fight a war we don’t lose.」
Bahl’s words were contradictory.
Crown Prince Fraus knits his brows in confusion and asks for the reason, but Bahl flashed a daring smile.
***** ***** ***** ***** *****
Imperial Year 1023, September 15.
It was early morning, with the morning fog having descended.
Cool winds caress the flowers blooming in the front garden of Fort Belk. But that calming atmosphere did not last for long. The neighing of horses cut through the air and rose high into the sky.
In the front garden were ranks of 3,000 soldiers, all heavy cavalrymen. Some of Hiro’s private soldiers, now part of the Fourth Imperial Army, are among them.
Fort Belk, central tower entrance—.
「Okay, I’ll leave the rest to you, Uncle.」
The crimson-hair Imperial Princess Liz held her hand out to a kind looking man.
The man with a refreshing smile— Margrave Grinda nods back.
「Yes, don’t worry. Don’t worry, leave this place to me.」
「Really, thank you so much. We could have just left one person behind…」
Is what Hiro said from the side.
Margrave Grinda shook his head telling him not to worry about it and pat Hiro on the shoulders a few times.
「I wouldn’t be able to handle people with such strong personalities if you left them here.」
Hiro probably wasn’t mistaken when he thought he saw his mouth stiffen for a moment.
Tris, Doryx, Gahda… it’s pretty certain some sort of problem would occur if any of them were left behind.
Also, the white wolf Cerberus is waiting in a carriage on standby in the rear.
「You may be a brigadier general by the time you return. It wouldn’t be as much of a surprise as when you became a member of the Imperial family, though.」
「No, people are saying our victory was a given… so I don’t think I’ll be receiving much of a reward.」
Hiro forces a smile.
The letter from the emperor arrived yesterday.
A banquet was to be held for the great victory against the Lichtein Dukedom and he was called to attend. He’ll probably receive his reward there, too.
But he didn’t think he would be summoned back so soon.
Thinking about it, he has an idea as to why. Though it’s only a guess, Hiro’s confident that he’s not wrong in his assumption.
(I heard they found a survivor of the royal family in Ferzen and that they’re throwing a revolt of an unprecedented scale.)
They may lose the territory they managed to take with great effort. Throwing a flashy banquet is most likely a ploy to try to wipe away that unrest and remove the anxiety within the nobles.
Hiro looked up at the sky and turned to the direction of Ferzen.
(I wonder if Aura is safe…)
He hasn’t received any bad news as of yet. But situations change from one moment to the next.
(It’s possible… that I might end up going there, too.)
If it’s going to drag out, it would be better to pull out now.
Exhausting the nation’s strength leads to collapse. Because they’ve had many sacrifices, the emperor probably won’t make that decision lightly.
(I have to think about what to do when he gives me the challenge of suppressing them.)
He decided to work out a few plans on the way, and drove his anxiety into the back of his mind for now.
A horse approaches him. The one atop the horse was Doryx.
「Your Highness, Hiro Schwartz. Your HIghness, Celia Estreya. We are ready to depart!」
Doryx shouted to indicate the majesty of the two. The air around the cavalry army of 3,000 behind him became tense.
The morning mist had cleared as well and visibility was good. There was no longer anything obstructing the Fourth Imperial Army.
「Now, your Highnesses. I will await your safe return.」
Margrave Grinda bends at the waist and bows.
「Yes, we’ll leave the rest to you.」
「We’ll be back!」
With those as their final words, Hiro and Liz entered the carriage.
As they do, a band standing by on a balcony on the central tower facing the front garden beat their drums and played their brass instruments.
The vanguard cavalry unit exits the main gate with the carriage and remaining cavalry groups following behind them. The Imperial family troupe totally 3,000 departs.
Inside the carriage which was being sent off by a dignified musical performance, Liz smiled and looked at her bracelet.
「Hehe~ Isn’t it pretty~」
She lets the sunlight coming in from the window hit the jewel on the bracelet and stares at it from all angles.
She bought it when she went to town with Hiro the other day. It’s decorated with small ornaments and it even has jewels on it so it looks expensive, but she got it at a reasonable price. There’s the fact that that merchant noticed they were from the Imperial family and lowered the price, but there’s also the fact that Liz haggled with him, which you wouldn’t expect to see from an Imperial family member.
「What do you think? Does it look good on me? This is my first time wearing something like this so I can’t tell~」
With a gleeful look on her face, Liz woke up Cerberus who was sleeping by her feet.
With a hint of annoyance, Cerberus looks at the bracelet and snorts.
「Hey, what’s that supposed to mean?! What does that mean?!」
Hiro smiles wryly. He’s glad she likes it.
Then, he feels the inner pocket of his black clothes and checks to see if he still has that item.
She looks so happy. She’ll probably brag about it to anyone and everyone.
It seems Tris and Doryx were actually forced to listen to Liz go on and on about the bracelet until morning.
In which case, there’s no mistaking she’ll brag about it to the widow of the Kelheit house— her older sister, whom they are to join with along the way.
(Why do I have to go through all this?)
He refers to that cunning woman. They’re probably going to end up with a tedious relationship.
If he makes a wrong move, she may reveal to Liz why she’s cooperated with him.
As Hiro lets out a troubled sigh…
「Hiro, what’s the matter?」
Liz moved next to Hiro without him noticing, and she was looking at him with a serious expression on her face.
Hiro removes his hand from his chest in a fluster and looks out the window.
「… I was thinking if nothing happens, we’ll be in the Imperial capital during September.」
「I’m sure nothing’s going to happen this time.」
The carriage is currently riding along the Schein main highway which connects to the central region.
There is no shaking on the well maintained road. A great variety of flowers paint both sides, and if you look into the distance, you can see the eight mountains which make up the Grauzarm mountain range stretching out. If you go beyond that, it is the small country of Baum.
The two of them enjoyed the scenery for a bit, but then Liz laid herself down as if she had lost interest, and placed her head on Hiro’s lap.
「That reminds me, we’re joining with my sister mid way right?」
His heart was pounding, in more ways than one. Liz’s spontaneous words and actions aren’t good for his heart.
As Hiro shows his confusion on his face, Liz put her smooth hands together and smiled happily.
「I can’t wait. I haven’t seen my sister in a long time. I want to talk to her about things I didn’t write in my letters.」
「R-Right… I hope we see her soon.」
Contrary to his words, deep in his heart, he wished that chance wouldn’t come.