Just got back home from a friend’s place >_<
Went in the morning and it is now almost a new day XD~ What are best friends for XD~
Also, sad news for some, but we have decided to only do one more chapter of this and drop it since the story no longer made sense to us and there are too many wtf moments. Both Choi and I are no longer having fun working on this~
We will probably look for something else to work on and ask for your suggestions in a post after the last chapter (chapter 6 that is), and see where it goes from there.
For now, enjoy chapter 5! ❤
P.S- wtf moments started once the author got the green light for a light novel adaption… I blame that…
Chapter 3, Episode 5: A Darkness Begins to Move
The Imperial capital, Gradius— the largest and most splendid metropolis on the central continent.
Those who visit for the first time are initially overwhelmed by the height of the walls surrounding the city.
Next, is the overwhelming number of people who pack the main road— the sheer number of stallholders also pry their eyes wide open in surprise.
Or maybe they’ll find themselves in awe when they are greeted by the colossal bronze statues of the Twelve Great Gods of Grantz.
And if they look up at the blue sky to try to gather themselves, they end up catching a glimpse of the Imperial palace.
Even after a thousand years, the Imperial palace shows no sign of decline. And the city streets which spread out below— to the people who live there, it gives them a sense of dignity, and to those who visit from foreign countries, it makes them sigh in reverence.
Imperial Year 1023, October 2.
The main road, full of people coming and going— is what it would be like normally, but currently, a wall of soldiers had the road blockaded.
Because of that, the people were driven to the edges, but there were no signs of displeasure or complaints in their expressions.
In fact, there was a mix of anticipation and tension there, and they all had their eyes turned to the main gate.
The reason for this can be found if you follow the main road to one of the network of connecting roads.
A vivid blue sky which extends endlessly. That which stretches out below it is the Schein Highway.
It is one of the main roads which connect to the Imperial capital— there, marched a neatly organized group of men and horses marching along at a fluid pace.
From the rising sun in the eastern sky, warm rays of light pour down onto the earth.
The armor covering the brawny soldiers stand out, and even their swords and shields perfectly aligned and producing a brilliant light while the sound of their boots sweep the land.
There was truly a variety of flags being carried by this group.
There were coats of arms of the sun, a lily, a black dragon, and a rose.
There were ten large flags alone which stood out, and adding the lesser flags, there were over forty altogether.
Within the group— there was one place where the sun, lily, and black dragon were gathered.
The three large flags fluttered in a cool breeze you can only feel in the morning.
Running beneath those flags was a gaudy carriage drawn by four horses.
Inside, rode one animal and three people.
「We’ll be at the Imperial capital soon.」
Said a woman who was looking out the window. Then, she opened her mouth as if she remembered something.
「Right, right, I forgot to mention… I had the middle and lower class nobles head to the Imperial capital ahead of us.」
The woman crossed her arms, and her chest bulged out as if she were asserting herself. Her military uniform which emphasizes her voluptuous body without any reservation draws the gaze of the opposite sex, whether they want to look or not. But if they tried to casually call out to her, they would get heavy handed response.
「We spent a lot of money. I’m sure they’ll give us a grand reception.」
The woman who smiles and purred was Miste Kariara Rosa von Kelheit.
Former Third Imperial Princess of the Grantz Grant Empire— She was married into the Kelheit house, one of the Five Great Nobles, but she recently lost her husband and became a widow. As a result, she is currently the acting head of the Kelheit house, and also the valiant woman who holds the eastern nobles together.
「I don’t really like flashy things though…」
The one who responded to Rosa’s words and furrowed his brows was the only male in the carriage— Hiro.
Even as it is, people fuss over him being a descendent of Mars, but lately, his alias of the 「one-eyed dragon」 was beginning to spread rapidly.
They say people will talk and that there’s no way to stop it, but now he truly believe that to be so.
Seeing Hiro let out a deep sigh, Rosa tilts her head at him.
「Are you saying that knowing how you look?」
She points out his black hair and black eyes— but not only that, Rosa also points to his uniform from the former Empire which doesn’t exist anymore, and his black mantle with dragon designs.
「To me, it looks like you’re just screaming that you’re a descendant of Mars…」
Hiro was at a loss for words. It’s true… Like Rosa says, his appearance could be read as an assertion to his ties to Mars. It was like an obsessed fanboy cosplaying his favorite character.
「Couldn’t you avoid a bit of attention if you removed 「Camellia」?」
Suggests Rosa. But Hiro shakes his head.
He has no intention of removing her just because of inquisitive stares.「Camellia」 is fickle, but she will never betray Hiro. Who knows how many dangerous situations she’s saved him from these past thousand years… There would be no end if you tried to count. And Hiro believes it will continue to be that way.
With that considered…
「I have no plans to remove her.」
Hiro stated clearly. But maybe because she felt insecure, 「Camellia」 tightened the collar as a sign of protest. Hiro smiles wryly and gently taps his chest. He was telling her he has no intention of doing that.
As Hiro felt the collar loosen up, he suddenly remembered something.
She was strangely quiet for a while now.
Normally, she would have cut into the conversation… As Hiro turns his gaze next to him…
He hears her breathing quietly as she sleep. The crimson-haired Imperial princess was curled up.
Maybe it was because she was using Cerberus as a pillow, but she looked quite happy as she slept.
Hiro heard a sneaky laughter… When he turned to the direction of the source, he saw Rosa gazing pleasantly at Liz.
「She’s probably tired. Well, it’s only natural.」
Hiro nods to those words.
When they met with Rosa, she had brought a large number of nobles with her— so they could meet Liz— and when they came together, an endless line of nobles came to greet her. Maybe it was because she was frantically trying to remember everyone’s name and face, but after she was finally released, he remembers her face looking so haggard it looked as if she hadn’t slept for a whole week.
「There’s probably going to be a dinner party when we reach the capital, so I’m thinking it’ll be even harder for her then.」
As Hiro says this, Rosa nods her head.
「Probably. I’m sure the nobles will approach you and Liz with various motives in mind.」
Everyone has some sort of motive. All the more so for nobles.
For upper class nobles, it’s an obligation. They shoulder many responsibilities, like their people and their territory. If it’s to protect them, they would even use the emperor. If exposed, they would be beheaded, but because those who hold the title of a noble are nothing but people with hidden agendas, they make sure they are not easily caught by their tails.
「I’ll leave Liz to you.」
「What about you?」
「Well, I learned a lot from before.」
Hiro shrugged his shoulders. Rosa doesn’t know this, but Hiro experienced many things a thousand years ago. There are some changes in protocol and etiquette, but it shouldn’t be a problem.
「Anyway, I’ll leave Liz to you.」
Liz is an Imperial princess. She probably experienced high society a few times already. But the dinner party today is a different story.
Until now, she was dealt with as an Imperial princess, but from now on, she will be dealt with as an heir to the throne.
There’s a weight to those words. There won’t be idle chit chat about an Imperial princess, but talk of political affairs as her position as heir to the throne. If they’re not careful with their words, the nobles will likely take advantage of her in an instant.
It may have been that Rosa understood what Hiro was thinking, as she nodded her head magnanimously.
「I’ll take care of Liz, but what about after that?」
Hiro looked puzzled, not understanding the meaning behind the question.
She wet her lips in an enticing manner. It was an awfully lewd sight.
「You know, after that, I’m going to sleep with you in the same bedroom. I was wondering how you were going to explain that to Liz.」
「… There’s nothing to explain. We’re obviously going to sleep separately.」
「What? You’re not going to hold me?」
Rosa looked quite surprised with her eyes wide open. Hiro rubs his temples as he speaks.
「You told me to wait a little longer last time.」
「How long ago do you think that was? I’m ready now.」
He says with his chest puffed out. The corners of Hiro’s lips stiffen up.
「You know… Liz is another issue, but don’t you have any sense of shame?」
In her own way, Liz is completely lacking in knowledge of the two sexes. It makes you wonder about the education of the Imperial family of the Grantz Grand Empire.
Rosa looked puzzled as to why Liz was just mentioned.
But it was only for a moment. After her hesitation, she lowered her eyes, as if she had an idea for the reason.
「Regarding Liz, it’s all my fault… is how I feel.」
「What do you mean?」
「I raised the Fourth Imperial Princess and below. Part of it was that I wanted a pure little sister, so I filled her with lies.」
Hiro was dumbfounded at hearing this shocking truth. Rosa continued to recount her past while he remained in that state.
「Having said that, I wasn’t going to be able to look after her forever. It was hard when she was assigned private instructors. I started thinking of ways to get them fired.」
Rosa added that it was fun, but after a while, she sighed as if in disappointment.
「That didn’t last for long. First, the Fourth Imperial Princess saw through the lies of her older sister and told her she was the worst. After that, she wouldn’t show herself around me anymore. And the Fifth Imperial Princess never interacted with me to begin with. I don’t remember when it was… but one day, she came to me with some data and explained to me what sort of creatures men are.」
Rosa sent a distant gaze towards the window.
「Liz was the only one who seemed to enjoy hearing me talk. I was probably spoiled by her kindness. I got carried away and told her all sorts of lies.」
She’s trying to make it sound like a nice story, but it’s difficult to feel moved by this.
As Hiro looked at her with suspicious eyes, she waved her hand in a fluster.
「But there’s no need to worry. I made sure to teach her not to be deceived by strange men.」
「It’s hard to believe that when I look at Liz.」
As he says this with a sigh, Rosa tilts her head.
Then, Hiro and Liz— she looks back and forth between the two and claps her hands.
「Ahh… So that’s it—」
Right when she opened her mouth to continue, there was a knocking at the window.
「We will reach the Imperial capital shortly.」
The voice of the coachman— Not too soft and not too loud, his voice rings inside the carriage.
Rosa places a thin finger on her lips and decides to continue this next time… After her gesture, she called out to the coachman.
「Then we’ll change carriages now. Tell the rear to bring the ceremonial carriage.」
The presence of the coachman outside the window— it disappeared after he gave out instructions to his subordinate.
Rosa closes the curtain attached to the window.
「You wake up Liz. I’m going to change first.」
She unbuttons her military uniform and suddenly began to undress.
Her smooth, white skin becomes exposed. Her chest becomes bare, and on her cleavage is a pendant— It’s one Hiro gave her as a present. If he only gave one to Liz, he felt he would be scolded for some reason, so he had it ready for her.
Thankfully, he didn’t upset her or have her tell him off, but Rosa became extremely spoiled which was now a problem.
During the time he was thinking back, Rosa had become naked right in front of him.
Why does she have to remove her underwear, too— He had a few questions for her, but he didn’t sense a shred of shame coming from her. She was brazen about it. In fact, it was as if she had absolute confidence in her body. She leaned over and opened a case with her dress.
Hiro sighs. Not in admiration though… It was full of resignation.
I’ll wait outside— As he ran out in a fluster, it was Hiro who given a puzzled look by the soldiers. What man on earth would run out after seeing his lover naked?
「Hehe, I don’t mind you watching. In fact, you could say it would make me happy. Well, it’s a huge shame… but won’t you wake Liz for now?」
Rosa asked him with a sweet voice that seemed to want to seduce him.
Hiro shrugs his shoulders. It would be a lie if he said he didn’t have any secret intentions, but he was only thinking it. It’s not like he was staring. It was clear that making an excuse would only let her lead him by the nose. So Hiro gave up and looked to his side to wake Liz.
There were crimson eyes staring directly at him. Hiro stiffens up like a frog being glared down on by a snake.
He wanted to ask when she woke up and how much she had heard, but his mouth wouldn’t listen to him.
While he was stuck in this state, Liz’s hand was slowly reaching out to Hiro’s face.
After tracing her pretty finger along his face half covered by an eye patch, she pointed at something.
「Hiro… your eye’s popping out.」
Without thinking, Hiro covers his face with his hands.
＊＊＊＊＊ ＊＊＊＊＊ ＊＊＊＊＊
Imperial Palace Wenezein— Depending on who mentions it, they could be referring to a different place on site.
On the eastern side of the vast area— the housing and training grounds for the 「Golden Lion Knights」, the elite force of the invincible First Imperial Army. It’s also a place where you can hear rough voices shaking the air, with soldiers performing mock battles each day, as if venting their rage.
They are knights directly under the jurisdiction of the emperor, and other than when they are personally led on expeditions by the emperor, they protect the Imperial capital during peace times.
But it’s been hundreds of years since the Imperial capital has seen the flames of war.
With that, no matter how powerful they are, they will end up losing their edge.
It can’t be helped if they are taunted for not having enough real battle experience. Because a lion who does not know how to hunt scares no one.
And so— using pretext of an expedition, the emperor releases the lion into the wild to remember how to hunt.
A certain person said the following:
「There is nothing more fearsome than a lion released from its cage. Because a king has no rivals.」
Which is why they produce fearsome results on the battlefield— is what they said.
Even today, they are training from sunrise to sunset. In order to defeat an enemy yet unseen— There was someone gazing at these 「Golden Lion Knights」.
He had short, golden hair like a lion, and it was standing up like a pompadour.
Because he was wearing loose fitting clothes of a noble, his well-trained muscles were hidden, but there was no way to hide his sense of intimidation.
He is the First Imperial Prince who is currently under house arrest— Rein Hart Schtobel von Grantz.
「You seem bored.」
It was not Schtobel who said this. Someone was approaching him from behind.
Schtobel turns around.
There stood one of the five high generals, Trye Frien von Loring.
He wore the expression of a good-natured old man. Schtobel furrowed his brows and returned his gaze to the training ground.
「Do you mind if I sit beside you?」
After hearing no reply, Loring sat himself in an empty chair.
Schtobel kept his gaze where it was and opened his mouth to speak.
「Didn’t your granddaughter come of age… Is it okay for you to be here?」
The old general next to him is now 57, but he is clad in a youthful zeal that wouldn’t suggest it.
He has one son, and that son’s daughter had come of age yesterday.
「Well, I am under house arrest just like you, your Highness. As such, I am unable to join in the celebration.」
「Hmph. I don’t image anyone say anything about it to an all mighty high general though.」
As Schtobel says with a snort, Loring strokes his head as if troubled.
「My wife… she refused to let me join, saying it would be a problem if it caused any obstacles for our granddaughter’s future.」
「Did she join the Department of Military Affairs?」
Loring nodded at Schtobel’s words.
In which case, it’s only natural that he be refused a seat.
Loring was the commanding officer of the Fourth Imperial Army. When he was placed under house arrest, he also lost that post… but still, his home is in the southern region— What that means, is that he is a southern noble.
The influence of the Fourth Imperial Prince and the Sixth Imperial Princess in the southern region is growing stronger with each day. And yet, the head of the Loring house is close to First Imperial Prince Schtobel who supports the central nobles.
The Loring house may feel ashamed because of that… And even if they don’t now, they will if the Muzuk house, which leads the southern nobles, declares its support of the Fourth Imperial Prince and the Sixth Imperial Prince.
「If I say the word, you can be assigned to the central region.」
But the old general shook his head. After a while, he starts to mumble, as if what he is about to say is difficult for him.
「You see… my granddaughter admires the Sixth Imperial Princess, Celia Estreya.」
Schtobel understood. An obstacle in the future— that’s probably what they meant.
In other words, she wants to be assigned to Fort Belk, where the Sixth Imperial Princess is.
Wanting to go to a remote region of her own free will… That part of her resembles the old general.
「To think she would favor adversity. She’s just like you. She must be pretty confident in her abilities.」
「Personality, yes… But it didn’t seemed like she resembled me in appearance.」
They were not alike in appearance— and yet, Loring seemed happy as he said this.
It can pretty much be assumed what he is thinking. Schtobel couldn’t help but agree with this. If this old general were made into a women, not only would it be unsightly, but he would probably be thought of as a monster.
Loring lifts his arm to grab his sword. He slashed an empty space in the time it took it to take one breath.
「She does not resemble me in this aspect, either, and she is unable to wield a sword. It seems she wants to be assigned as an administrative officer.」
「… I see. I’ve gotten a grasp of your granddaughter’s situation.」
Schtobel broke off and ended the chit chat.
This old general has not once visited him for such personal affairs.
「Get to the real issue. It’s not like you came here for idle chat.」
「I was hoping to distract you a bit…」
「It helped a bit with my boredom. That was it.」
「Is that so?」
After finishing his statement, Loring changed his expression of a good-natured old man, and put on the air of a high general.
The mood changes. The gentle cheerfulness was crushed by tension.
Loring’s zeal sends a burning sensation across Schtobel’s skin.
「Have you heard the Revering Kingdom has sent soldiers?」
「And that Princess Claudia is missing?」
The Revering Kingdom sent their soldiers with the recovery of Princess Claudia as their reason.
They say the messengers who were sent to celebrate her birthday kidnapped her.
It was a complete surprise to the Grantz Grand Empire.
But having said that, they can’t possibly just stand by and watch. Preparing for a possible war, the Imperial palace was pressed to respond in a panic.
「I did think this would happen one day…」
It was just once, but he had a chance to speak with Crown Prince Fraus.
He was twisted. Although he was put together on the surface, he hid wicked thoughts within.
It’s not as bad as the Grantz Imperial family… but the Revering royal family also has a shadowy past.
「That’s enough with the confirmations. Get to the main topic already.」
Schtobel signals to Loring with his eyes. The old general lowered his voice.
「They say 「Orcs」 has begun to move.」
It was rare to see Schtobel surprised.
「Orcs」— It was three hundred years ago that that name appeared to the public.
The greatest famine occurred in the Grantz Grand Empire of the time.
The nobles forced heavy taxes on the people, causing uprisings and attacks from other domains, and misdeeds were widespread— Furthermore, the emperor of the time was assassinated.
The one pulled that off the assassination was the assassin group 「Orcs」, and that was the incident which cause their name to suddenly spread. Because of these circumstances, there are many who call this period the dark ages.
「For them to appear now… What the hell is going on?」
With the chaotic period coming to an end, they also suddenly disappeared from center stage.
Since then, there haven’t been any cases of assassinations by 「Orcs」.
The reason this can be said for certain, is that they always leave their mark at the scene of the murder. The symbol of 「Orcs」, a bronze statue which they worship as 「Father」.
「Do you know what their objective is?」
「That much I do not know.」
「Then where did you get that information?」
「「Nameless」 appeared at my villa yesterday. He announced that 「Orcs」 has begun to move and left.」
Schtobel clicks his tongue.
「Nameless」 is an elf who is said to have recently been added to Schtobel’s staff officers.
He neither gives his name, nor can his location be grasped. He unexpectedly appears at war councils from time to time to give advice, then leaves. An elf was suddenly part of the staff officers— That’s how people felt.
It was a hassle to deny him, so they left him alone, but…
「I can’t trust him, but can we believe him?」
Schtobel said with irritation in his voice, to which Loring nodded with a serious expression.
「Of all the times 「Nameless」 brought us information until now, not once was it incorrect.」
「Did he say anything else?」
「That reminds me, he said something mysterious in the end. Something about unrest in the east… But I can’t imagine that Baum would bare its fangs at the Grantz Grand Empire.」
Loring tilted his head and groaned.
Schtobel moved his gaze from Loring to above his head— He looked to the east.
「I see. So that’s what it is.」
Schtobel suddenly stood up and started for the Imperial palace.
Noticing this, Loring followed after him.
「Where are you going?」
「They’re going through the trouble of coming to us. We need to make the necessary preparations.」
Loring squinted at the vague words.
Schtobel continue to smile cheerfully— but as he suddenly stops in his tracks, he turned his gaze to the town.
「… It seems like the Fourth Imperial Prince is here.」
The wind carries the sound of the loud singing of the band all the way to Schtobel.
And at the same time, the words of congratulations from the people—
He doesn’t know when, but at some point, he started to see it as annoying…
「Imperial Prince Schtobel? Is something the matter?」
Loring calls out to him. It seems he thought it strange that Schtobel suddenly stopped moving.
Schtobel sneers and starts walking again.
「It’s nothing… Let’s go.」
Then, he suddenly stopped to think…
And wonder when he started to prefer the sound of screams over cheering.