Here we go with volume 2, enjoy the prologue and ch1 part 1~
The desert, exposed to the blazing sun, is muddied by several screams folding together. The place where curses, decapitations, and horseshoes roar is a battlefield of mixed emotions. With each swordfight, countless corpses are created, and vindictiveness spreads.
The clouded eyes of the dead, who stare at the living with resentment, are like the god of death, inviting them to the other world. In the midst of such a hellish scene of war, there is a place where a different atmosphere is flowing. It’s as if it exists in a different space, separated from the noise around it.
In such a tense atmosphere―two men were confronting each other.
One is a boy wearing an eye patch with a white silver sword, and the other is a man with pale purple skin and a large sword.
“We’ve come this far, and now someone is going to interrupt us again…?”
The man brushed his sweat-stained bangs depressingly. His forehead, which had been hidden, appeared, exposing a small purple crystal embedded in it to the outside world.
“It seems that the man himself is not following me, after all.”
Out of the man’s gaze, the boy stood in a stance so open that one would think he might be caught off guard. But the man sensed it. He could feel the powerful fighting spirit that the boy wore.
That is not something that can be reached even if you’ve gone through many battles, and only those who have further developed their skills can obtain it―the fact that this young boy releases it is beyond amazing.
“Kuku, hahaha… It is a natural talent!”
The man couldn’t suppress a laugh at the fact that such a fierce warrior was much younger than him.
”Let’s go out and kill each other to the bitter end―Hey, “One-Eyed Dragon”! The last one standing is the winner! Simple enough to understand, right?”
The man twisted his body after splitting his dry lips into a crescent shape. Then the cut end of the great sword, which was as tall as he was, was buried in the sand.
The boy who took one look at it shrugged his shoulders, and――.
“I’m truly amazed at the demon race. You see, I’m not interested in killing each other.”
But despite the words, the boy had a fierce smile on his face. A look that was disproportionate to the young boy’s age―and the man felt a chill at the sight of it.
“But I’m feeling a little irritated now. You’ll have to be prepared for a certain amount of injury.”
Nothingness takes over the boy. He sank into the abyss and chipped away at all emotions…
The boy also lifted his right arm to his chest and pointed the tip of his silvery-white sword at the man.
Chapter 1 – The Great Imperial Capital
13th of July, 1023, in the imperial calendar. The Berg Fortress, surrounded by the wilderness, was experiencing the same steaming heat as usual.
In the midst of all this, a girl’s voice that was as refreshing as rolling bells rang out on the third floor of the central tower.
“Where are you~~~?”
Her appearance reminds one of a mother searching for her lost child. Celia Estrella Elizabeth von Grantz, the sixth princess of the Great Grantz Empire. Her serene appearance is undeniably eye-catching. Her red hair gives off a sense of fiery passion, and her well-groomed face would make anyone gasp in admiration.
Apart from her appearance, there was something else that attracted people’s attention. It was the red sword at her waist. It is one of the five treasured swords refined by the first emperor who founded the Great Grantz Empire, and it is the first emperor’s most beloved spirit sword, known as the “Flame Emperor.”
“Where is he?”
For her, who hasn’t been in charge for very long, the Berg Fortress is like a maze. That’s why it’s hard for her to search for each person. It was inevitable that she would clench her fists in frustration. However, that caused the gleaming envelope in Liz’s hand to turn into an indescribable shape.
“Mmm… since it’s Hiro, I thought he would be on the third floor.”
The third floor of the central tower was mainly a storage room. This is the floor where books, tools, and lumber are stored. It is currently a den of white wolves called Cerberus, and there have been incidents of soldiers being threatened when they come to the third floor without calling out at first.
“Maybe I should go back to Hiro’s room…?”
When Liz muttered that, at the end of the dimly lit passage―the back door opened. From there, the third floor’s master, Cerberus, the white wolf, and from behind him, a boy with black hair, black eyes, and a stern eye patch that didn’t match his meek face―the Hiro Liz had been looking for―appeared.
Liz raised her hand and called the boy’s name, and Hiro noticed her and walked over to her.
“What’s wrong with you in such a hurry?”
“It’s an urgent matter. I was looking for you.”
“Is that so? I was in my study to do some research.”
Hiro turned around and looked at the room that was filled with the history of this fortress. Hmm, and after taking a glance at the door over Hiro’s shoulder, Liz put her hands on her hips and said.
“It’s good that you’re so eager to learn, but you should tell me where you’re going properly.”
Liz had become a bit overprotective since Hiro had been suffering from an eye problem. Maybe it should be said that she has become a worrier, or perhaps she can’t be blamed after seeing Hiro suffer like that…
“I’ll be more careful from now on. So what’s going on?”
“Yeah. Yes. Here, here, I finally got a response to that protest I sent out before.”
Hiro looks dubiously at the letter offered to Liz.
“It’s wrinkled and tattered, but… this is a letter, right?”
“A letter from my father. Look, the emperor signs it.”
Receiving the elongated and crumpled letter, Hiro unfolded it while making an ominous sound.
“Why is this―like trash?”
“I was looking for Hiro, and I ended up with this… I didn’t mean to offend you. I’m sorry, okay?”
She clasped her hands together and said that with an upward glance. If she uttered an apology in such a cute way, Hiro couldn’t say anything. Hiro had once heard that women are creatures that benefit from being beautiful, and Hiro realized that this was true.
“…Well, it’s not that I can’t read it; it’s fine.”
When Hiro looked down at the letter――.
I have learned all about it from my daughter’s letters. I’ve also heard of your battle against the Principality of Lichtine.
I would like to congratulate you on your achievements, but I’m more concerned about something else.
I want to confirm the authenticity of your claim to be a descendant of the Second Emperor.
Once we are certain that this information is true, we will make sure that the First Prince is punished accordingly.
In the meantime, I would like you, the person concerned, to come to the Great Imperial City.
Emperor Greigheit the 48th.
“Come to the Great Imperial City, huh…?”
For the future, Hiro thinks he should make acquaintance with the lords and ladies, including the emperor. However, what is that awaits him in there… he must go with that in mind.
“Then let’s get ready to go to the Great Imperial City as soon as possible!”
For some reason, Liz happily tugged on Hiro’s arm.
“No, this letter doesn’t say that Liz should come too, right? So you can’t go, okay?”
Most importantly, if she were to go too, it would become a large group. Unlike before, the emperor is there so that the rival factions won’t take extreme action, but Hiro will still feel more comfortable having Liz remain in Berg Fortress.
“Eeehh… I can’t go?”
Her gesture of protesting with her cheeks puffed out slightly shook Hiro’s heart. Nevertheless, Hiro decided to push away his heart.
“The area around Berg Fortress is still not safe. If something goes wrong, it wouldn’t be good if the commander, you, wasn’t present, would it? And there’s a lot of paperwork accumulated, as well. You need to sign some of those papers. too… right?”
“Mumumu, Tris will do it for me.”
“Tris-san, huh…. you see, he’s a muscle brain―I hate to say it, but he’s not suitable for office work or anything.”
“It’s not my cup of tea either, you know?”
“Yeah, I know… I know that, but let’s just try harder. You’re far better than Tris-san.”
Hiro is not very good at the paperwork side of things, either. The Berg Fortress needs an excellent civil servant. It would be rare for anyone to want to come to such a remote place, but Hiro thought he would ask the emperor for help if the opportunity arises.
“Well, what if, if I finish my work and everything, can I come with you?”
Liz’s eyes moistened as she looked up at Hiro.
“O-of course. I think there will be no problem if you finish your work.”
Hiro couldn’t help but nod his head. Liz jumped up and down, hearing it.
“All right! That’s a promise! I’m going to go get that paperwork done in a hurry!”
“Ah, yeah. But you know, with that much in a day would be――.”
Hiro’s words didn’t reach her. It was because the delighted Liz left at an astounding speed.
“Well, I’ll apologize later, and if I get her a souvenir or something, she’ll be in a better mood.”
Just in case it would be troublesome if Liz noticed, it would be better to leave late at night. For now, Hiro turned his feet to his room to prepare for his departure.
After the evening sun had gently disappeared over the horizon, the time when all but the night watch soldiers had gone to bed. Hiro began to act. First of all, he went to the first floor of the central tower―he proceeded down the corridor carefully and stopped in front of the office. Peeking inside through the doorway, he could see Liz lying buried in a pile of papers.
When Hiro’s mouth formed a smile――.
“Hey, what are you doing in there?”
Hiro hurriedly moved away as a voice called out from behind him.
“You… are you trying to attack the princess!?”
The face of the old soldier with a lamp in one hand went from suspicious to indignant.
“N-no! No, I’m not! Please be quiet! Liz will wake up!”
The old soldier who illuminated Hiro’s panicked face with his lamp made a pouting face.
“…Muh, what is it, it’s you, huh, kid? What are you doing here so late at night?”
He’s an aide working for Liz―Tris von Termier, a third-class military officer.
If he hesitated, Tris might claim that Hiro was crawling at night or something, so Hiro quickly explained to Tris.
“Fumu. You mean you wanted to leave after making sure the princess was asleep?”
“Yes. I can’t take Liz with me, can I?”
“Indeed. I want the princess to stay here, as well. But you are the descendant of the second emperor, right? And I’m sure you’re allowed for some protection, too. Aren’t you going to take them with you?”
“Many of the lords and nobles, including the emperor, would be more skeptical. Therefore, I have decided that it would be best not to take them along, as the guards might cause unnecessary irritation.”
Until the emperor recognizes him, he is less than a commoner. He should be as quiet as possible. If he wants to make Liz’s dream come true, they will need more allies than enemies. When considering the future, he doesn’t want to make a bad impression.
“Aren’t you worrying too much about it? Besides, only you, kid, who has black hair and black eyes. That alone could be evidence.”
“They can just say that black hair and black eyes are just a matter of disguise, you know.”
Hiro is thinking of sending out the “Heavenly Emperor” when the time comes, but that’s only if he’s out of options.
In the event of an audience with the emperor, there is a good chance that the first prince Stobel will be there. If he sends out the “Heavenly Emperor” in front of the emperor, he will be called an assassin, and he will be attacked without warning. That would be a recipe for disaster. Stobel will become the hero who protected the emperor, and Liz will be executed for sending the assassin.
The place where Hiro is headed is the imperial palace, where all sorts of desires are swirling around―no harm in worrying about it too much.
“Well, since I’m running out of time, I’ll be leaving soon.”
“All right. You’re sure you don’t need a bodyguard?”
“Yeah, that won’t be necessary.”
“But you can’t ride a horse, can you? What are you going to do?”
“First of all, I’m going to visit Kiork-san on foot.”
There must have been a stagecoach in Lynx. So Hiro thought he would go to the Great Imperial City by that.
Fumu… Tris snorted and pretended to think about it.
“In case it’s worth a try…”
“What do you mean?”
“I got something for you, kid. Follow me.”
With that, Tris turned his back and walked away. Hiro followed him, wondering. He was led to a stable―it’s not actually a stable, but a vacant lot some distance away.
Tris tapped on a sturdy cage. Something stirred inside it and emitted a strange squeal.
“This is――a swift dragon!”
At Hiro’s question, Tris gave a nasty smile with a grin.