I’m sorry for the late release, and here’s the chapter, enjoy~
Hiro was awakened in a strange place after being knocked unconscious by Stobel’s lightning strike. A pure white space, a world that had lost its color. Hiro has no idea what has happened, and the confusion on his face is evident.
Someone called out to Hiiro from behind him.
“You’re here. So that means… you’re back to Alethia?”
Hiro turned around in surprise to see a blond-haired, golden-eyed young man.
“It’s been a while. Maybe that’s not really true. I don’t know how many years have passed since you returned to Earth.”
Hiro’s eyes widened in astonishment, unable to say anything. A gold throne adorned with jewels. It could be said to be tacky. And the young man was sitting on it.
His well-groomed appearance, as if it had jumped out of a painting, would have caused a high-pitched scream if a woman had seen him. He is such a beautiful young man that even a man would stare in amazement.
The long, slender, cross-legged, graceful figure made the tacky throne look strangely appropriate. When Hiro finally regained his composure, he spoke to the golden-eyed young man with a majestic impression.
“You’re Altius… right?”
The young man then gave a sly and nasty smile. Hiro wanted to put up a fight, but he held back. He told himself that he wasn’t so quick-tempered. He looked around to distract himself from his annoyance. As Hiro thought, it’s just a white space that goes on forever.
Has he disappeared? Then Hiro looked back at Altius, but he was still smiling happily.
“Yeah. It’s a dream.”
Hiro assured himself. He should have been on the battlefield in the first place. Most importantly, he was a thousand years old and now deceased in Alethia.
Maybe, just maybe, he is dead, and this is the other side of the world… That would explain why Altius is here.
As Hiro began to worry, Altius smiled bitterly at him.
“Hiro. I don’t understand why you’re confused. I can understand why you want to think of it as a dream. But you know――.”
After cutting off the words, Altius pointed to Hiro’s chest. When he looked down at it, a clear, pale light leaked out of his chest.
Unbuttoning his uniform and digging into his inner pocket, he found a single card. This is a plain white card that Altius gave him a thousand years ago.
“…I’m sorry to ask you in a dream… but is this also a spirit talisman?”
“Exactly. That’s a spirit talisman.”
“But I’ve looked in various references, and I haven’t found a spirit talisman like this one.”
“I received a certain spirit from the Spirit King and made it for you. No wonder you don’t know that.”
“I’m having this weird dream about… what does this have to do with me?”
“I put some residual thoughts in that spirit talisman. That’s why the only thing I have is my memory of those days until Hiro returned to Earth. Your arrival here means that you’ve fulfilled the conditions for triggering this spirit talisman. Something must have gone wrong. And that means I’m not there anymore.”
It was only for a moment that Altius had a sad expression on his face, and then he immediately burst into a joyful voice.
“In what era were you summoned? You’ve had many surprises, haven’t you?”
“I got summoned back in a thousand years. How can I not be surprised?”
“Hahaha! That’s great! That’s an overwhelming number of years!”
“That’s not great at all. I still can’t believe it.”
“I see… you’ve appeared in a “turning point” period.”
“Huh? A turning point?”
Hiro asked back, but Altius ignored him.
“It’s a fun period. I would like to go to the same place as you, but I don’t have a soul tied up in me, so I can’t go with you.”
“Don’t ignore me… And I don’t understand what you’re talking about. Tell me what you’re talking about.”
“Don’t worry about it… You’ll figure it out eventually.”
“You’re always like that.”
“That’s my nature, you know. Anyway, I can only tell you what I think is best for you, my friend. That’s all I can tell you!”
Rising from his throne, Altius looked up at the white space and spread his arms out.
“It’s a big world! That’s why the possibilities are endless! Live the life you want! Don’t make your world so small! Live free. Be greedy for everything!”
Altius approached Hiro and pressed his fist to his chest.
”My dear brother-in-law is no small person. Don’t underestimate yourself. It’s a bad habit of yours. Be mightier than any king. Be more arrogant than any king. Be stronger than any king. And for that, I’ll give you plenty of options.”
Altius says happily and claps Hiro on the shoulder.
“I will watch it. Let’s see where my brother-in-law goes and the future he walks into.”
It’s not as if he was satisfied with the fact that he was able to say whatever he wanted, but Altius sat back on his throne with a pompous look on his face.
Slowly, he stretched out his right arm and turned his palm toward Hiro.
“Come on; it’s time to wake up.”
“…That was abrupt. I guess you just wanted to say what you wanted to say and say goodbye.”
“You understand me a little better now?”
Hiro shrugs at Altius, who chuckles. He’s been hit by a sore spot. There was no way he could argue with that.
A thousand years ago, Hiro suddenly decided to return to Earth. Altius desperately tries to stop him, and without giving a reason, Hiro returns. It is impossible for Hiro to blame him for this.
There are several things that bothered him, but if he returned to his original intentions, he would only get sidetracked if he asked. So, he decided to ask the most important question of all.
“Is this really a farewell?”
“I doubt we can even call it a reunion in the first place. I’m here because I’m just a residual thought anyway.”
“Yeah. We’ll never see each other again. But――.”
Altius sighs ruefully as he breaks off the words.
“Looks like we’re running out of time.”
As he pointed to the heavens, Hiro looked up above him. Black darkness had appeared in the white space. It gradually increased in speed and dyed the empty world black.
Altius smiled and told Hiro.
“The truth is――you――. ――to mislead――intention――, surely――.”
It was difficult to hear clearly due to the interrupting words. Hiro’s vision was rapidly going dark. Altius’ figure disappeared like a haze.
――Hiro opened his eyelids again, and an unfamiliar ceiling pops into view.
The smell of chemicals hit his nose, awakening his consciousness. The soft sensation that covered his body, and while he regretted it, Hiro raised his upper body.
When he looked around, he saw that color had returned to the world, and the shelves containing the chemicals were illuminated by the moonlight streaming in through the windows.
After convincing himself that it must be the infirmary or something, he noticed Liz sleeping by the bed with a happy look on her face. He smiles and drapes the blanket over his body, and places it over Liz’s shoulders.
Hiro thought he had woken up from his dream. He tried to get out of bed, thinking to himself as if it were someone else’s dream. But that’s when he put his feet on the floor. The world wobbled.
His vision went haywire as he turned his eyes. His back hit the floor hard with a loud noise.
He stopped breathing and moaned, but he sensed something rising from his chest and pressed his mouth down.
Unable to hold it in place, vomit was spat out. The blood drains from Hiro’s face as his breathing begins to get sluggish.
(There’s something wrong with my eyes…? What’s this…)
A vast rush of information is transmitted to his brain through his left eye. He can’t shut it off. Regardless of his will, he accepts everything and pressures his mind.
Even with his eyes closed, he could still see. He had never felt anything like this before. Although it’s his own body, he has no idea what’s happening to him.
Liz seems to have woken up when she noticed something wrong. But Hiro didn’t have time to reply. Liz ran up to the struggling Hiro and rubbed his back.
“Hold on! Please, anyone, please come!”
“What’s going on?”
Tris, who was waiting outside, comes in.
He looks at Liz and then at Hiro. He immediately realized what was wrong and returned outside.
“I’ll get a doctor right away!”
“Please! Bring them right away!”
Vomit splattered on Liz’s upper body as she held Hiro’s head. However, she didn’t care and placed Hiro’s head on her lap.
Liz takes out a cloth and begins to wipe Hiro’s mouth gently.
“It’s okay. Calmly take a breath…”
Hiro vomits, but nothing comes out. All the food in his stomach may have been vomited out.
“Hiro, can you listen to me?”
He wanted to divert Hiro’s attention. In fact, Hiro reacts to a voice as clear as a compassionate mother’s.
His bloodshot eyes turned to Liz―the pupil of his left eye is strangely enlarged and reddened.
Liz almost screamed involuntarily and held her mouth. The sensation of having her mind looked into sends a shiver down her spine. But she can’t be frightened. She wants to take away Hiro’s pain as much as possible.
Liz said, trying to be cheerful.
“I was so surprised when I first met Hiro.”
It was the first time they met in the Anfang Forest. After returning from a quick bath, she saw a boy being intimidated by Cerberus. A black-eyed, dark-haired boy. It was as if――.
“He looks just like the second emperor I ever imagined.”
The second emperor is the only one of the emperors of all time whose portrait does not exist. It is impossible to know what he looked like. People can only imagine him from what is written in the legends.
Even the statue of the second emperor was created based on legend.
“His Majesty Schwartz, which I have always admired.”
She had always been a tomboyish girl, and she was more interested in swords than dolls. Before going to bed, she begged her mother to sleep while listening to the stories of the Twelve Great Gods of Grantz instead of fairy tales.
The popularity of the second emperor had always been tremendous in Grantz’s military state, so it was only natural that she, who wanted to become a soldier, would be interested in the second emperor.
“I’ve worked hard at my training, no matter what people say about me. I never got any credit for it because I was a woman.”
First, she wanted to be a soldier. Then came the general, then become a great general. With every step she took, the dream grew.
No one laughed at Liz, but then things started to fall apart.
――She was favored by the “Flame Emperor.”
The first person who approached was the Kelheit family’s head, one of the five great Grantz nobles.
With his influence in the Eastern region, the small and medium-sized nobles all expressed their support for Liz. She became too powerful for the other heirs to the throne to ignore, but the head of House Kelheit was assassinated by someone and instantly collapsed. The next thing she knew, Tris and Dios were the only ones left standing with Liz.
“Then… I was told that I’d been demoted, and I needed a change of scenery, so I went to bathe in the Anfang Forest.”
Then she met a boy—a boy who looks exactly like the second emperor she had admired.
Liz smiles as she puts her hand on Hiro’s cheek. Hiro is still breathing painfully, but perhaps he has calmed down a bit. The look in Hiro’s eyes had softened a bit, and he looked up at Liz.
“I, you know. I have a dream.”
That’s when she hears the sound of noisy footsteps from outside.
“Hurry up! The boy is going to die!”
“Don’t make this old man run!”
“Then I’ll carry you on my back!”
Liz laughed and put her mouth close to Hiro’s ear to make sure he didn’t miss anything. Muttered words… There was no surprise on Hiro’s face as if Hiro had expected the words that were muttered.
It’s a tremendous dream. It will never be an easy road. As she moved away from Hiro, the moonlight illuminated her face, making her beauty look even more radiant.