Here’s the chapter, enjoy~
July 23, 1023rd of the Imperial Calendar. It was early in the morning when the fog had yet to clear. The metallic sound of armor and the neighing of horses were folded dozens of times into the sky.
In front of the main gate of Berg Fortress, a huge number of cavalry and infantry were lined up. Everyone was filled with vitality and had a fierce look of tension and thrill on their faces.
Of the 20,000 troops of the Fourth Imperial Army, there were 10,000 soldiers from the Great Grantz Empire’s southern guardians. The left flank of 2,000 is commanded by Celia Estrella Elizabeth von Grantz, the “Flame Emperor” holder.
“Tris, I haven’t heard much about this General Kylo, but what about his abilities?”
Next to Liz was an old soldier with a majestic atmosphere――Tris.
“It’s no wonder the princess doesn’t know about General Kylo; he’s a shadow. His name is never heard all the way to the center. Moreover, there is a monster among General Kylo’s competitors. He has never been able to see the light of day because he is always on the same battlefield as that monster.”
“You mean… General Loing?”
“That’s right. Because of his extraordinary talent, General Kylo was deprived of all his major achievements. Even so, thanks to his steady accumulation of achievements, he was promoted. Still, now he is known as the shadow general.”
“That’s also true… but if he went through that much trouble, he should have no problem in commanding.”
Tris groaned at Liz’s words.
“Fumu… I wonder.”
“Is there something bothering you?”
“I’ve heard that General Kylo tends to dislike talented people because he’s been relegated to the shadows.”
“Does that mean he prefers hard workers to the talented?”
“That’s right, to put it kindly. But to put it worse, he puts off the talented.”
“If that’s the case and it works for us, then I don’t see the problem, does it?”
“If you keep the talented people away, you will narrow the scope of your strategy. It’s only natural since you can’t get a better opinion than yours.”
Tris looked at Liz with worry in her eyes.
“And, Princess… do you remember?”
“The princess is the type of genius that General Kylo hates the most, and that is what bothers me the most.”
“Haha, no, no. If I were a genius, I wouldn’t be practicing every day.”
Liza waved her hand and denied it, but her cheeks relaxed as if she were happy to be called a genius. Tris sighed deeply and pointed to the “Flame Emperor” on Liz’s waist.
“It’s the Flame Emperor. Isn’t it cute?”
“Anyway, putting aside if it’s cute or not… how many spirit swords are there in the world?”
“Five. But one of them was lost, so now there are four.”
“There are only four spirit swords in the world, and one of them is on the princess’ waist.”
“But just because I have the Flame Emperor doesn’t mean I’m gifted, right?”
“There is always a reason why the Flame Emperor has chosen you. There must be some talent that even you unaware of. That’s why General Kylo will make you his enemy.”
“Commander of the Fourth Imperial Army. I don’t think he’ll show such childish emotions…”
“Still, you should always be cautious. Be very careful.”
Tris’s advice was something Liz decided to take to heart.
(Hiro said something like that, too.)
It reminded her of the boy with the eye patch that covered half his face. It had been ten days since he had left the place――and it was two days before his departure.
As usual, Hiro was holed up in his study at the Berg Fortress. Liz went to pick up Hiro, who had not eaten breakfast and was absorbed in reading.
“Liz. What do you think is necessary for war?”
As soon as Liz entered the room, Hiro suddenly threw out a question.
“Um… soldiers, food, and――… oh, and information!”
“Certainly, those three things are important. But don’t forget that you can only start a war if there is a cause.”
Hiro smiled bitterly and looked straight at Liz.
“In the meantime, let’s talk about the cause later, and let’s talk about the information now.”
The childishness that had been there earlier was gone from Hiro’s expression.
(This face again.)
This boy has many faces. He usually has a weak face suitable for his age, but on the battlefield, he has a ruthless expression that makes you wonder what he’s thinking. And when he is using his wits, as he is now, he has an interesting expression on his face. She wondered what his true face was, and if possible, she hoped that it was the usual Hiro of his age. Liz listened to his story, hoping for the best.
“――Until the time comes, we should let the spies hide in the enemy country for years or even decades. Based on the information accumulated, we can compare it with the recent reports and start preparing for war.”
Hiro closed the book he was holding in his hand.
“We have gained the support of the people for our cause. The training and morale of the soldiers are perfect. We’ve got enough food and drink, and we’ve got information about the enemy. All that was left was to start the war.”
But, after a pause, Hiro said.
“There are times when you can have all of these things and still lose. It’s when the commander can’t make use of the information.”
“Isn’t that what the staff is for?”
“A man who keeps a self-disciplined staff around him is proof that he is well aware of his own shortcomings. I think such people are capable of. But don’t forget that not all commanders are like that. There are commanders who keep away those who are better than them and gather those who are less talented than them.”
There are commanders everywhere, from all times and all places, whose only title is honorable. Ordinary generals are often jealous of the talents of others. Therefore, if a talented person is not blessed with a superior, they will not appear on the stage but will be nipped in the bud and disappear. As a woman, Liz is favored by the “Flame Emperor” and has the chosen bloodline of the Grantz Imperial Family, which would not be attractive to them at all.
“Liz’s rank is Major General, so you can be given command, but you can also be added to someone’s staff. So be careful not to deny it in front of the staff, no matter how wrong the commander is. A commander with a bruised ego will put you through many trials.”
“But if you don’t point out when they’re wrong, there will be consequences.”
“So be prepared. You should be prepared for anything. You’ll be in close contact with your unit commanders.”
“But will they accept me?”
“Use your title as the sixth princess to your advantage. You also have the Flame Emperor, so they’ll be happy and excited to hear from you.”
Hiro quietly opened his hands, his dark eyes shining.
“The soldiers will certainly listen to your words since you are the favored of the Flame Emperor. It will be effective in the time to come.”
“When it comes?”
Liz’s eyes widened, and she looked at Hiro, but he only smiled and did not give her an answer.
“Now, let’s talk about the cause,” Hiro said smoothly.
(The conversation ended just as the sun was setting…)
Her head starts to hurt just thinking about it. Liz shook her head and looked forward.
“Yes. What can I do for you?”
“I need you to look up the names of the thousand, five hundred, one hundred and ten flag captains.”
Tris tilted his head. The name of the captain of each of the two thousand troops she was leading should be in her memory. Then Tris pondered and suddenly seemed to realize and turned her gaze to Liz.
“You mean the entire army?”
“Yes. We have to be ready in case General Kylo makes a mistake.”
It would be nice if it were all for nothing, but anything can happen on the battlefield.
“I’m counting on you. Tris.”
“Yes. Understood. I’ll look into it right away.”
Tris hung down his head, reverently on his horse, then turned his head and disappeared into the waves of soldiers.
As Liz watched, she grasped the handle of the Flame Emperor.
A number of drums were beaten from the main camp, and the sound rushed through the soldiers. A large number of heraldic banners fluttered into the sky from the main camp. Liz watched and raised her hand to signal the flag bearers.
The heraldic flag with lilies on a red background is flying in the wind, and the lion on a gold background flag of the Grantz Imperial family is also raised at the same time. Thus, all the troops quickly began to march towards the Principality of Lichtine.
July 26, 1023rd of the Imperial Calendar――three days after Liz and the others began their march.
Hiro had arrived at the frontier city of Lynx.
“Oh, I’ve been waiting for you.
In front of the mansion, Kiork was waiting for Hiro with a friendly smile on his face. Next to him was Swift Dragon, who looked unhappy at being woken up so early in the morning.
“You’ve been waiting for me this early?”
It hadn’t even been a second since the sun had risen. In the first place, Hiro had not even informed him of the expected arrival date, so it was no wonder that Hiro was surprised. When Hiro wondered how long he had been waiting for him, he was filled with apology. However, Kiork shook his head, saying there was nothing to worry about.
“No, no, no, it’s natural since it’s the Imperial family that is coming to my house. I sent representatives to pick you up at the station as well, but it seems they got mixed up.”
“Thank you very much.”
After giving a wry smile to Hiro, who shrank back, Kiork went through his pockets and pulled out a letter.
It was a letter that Hiro had sent using the Kelheit family’s messenger.
“I’ve done what you wrote in your letter. But is this all you needed?”
“Yes, it is enough. Thank you very much.”
“I don’t like it when you bow to me so many times. You’re a prince now, so I should be one who is grateful for the orders that you gave me.”
“That was, as expected…”
Hiro’s cheeks tightened as he realized that there was no way he could say anything. Kiork nodded his head in agreement, then tapped him on the shoulder as if to say, “That’s exactly what you are.”
Hiro was slightly taken aback by Kiork’s strangely high mood from this morning. Kiork noticed this and scratched his head with an embarrassed look on his face.
“Aah… I’m sorry. I’ve been up all night, and I’m glad you’ve been recognized as a descendant. I was a little too familiar with you. It’s not polite to do this to a prince.”
It was probably Hiro’s fault that he had been up all night. So he can’t say anything about it, and Kiork is a good-natured person, so a tap on the shoulder won’t offend him. If it had been the first prince Stobel, he would have been annoyed.
Before the silence fell between them, Hiro decided to change the subject.
“Has Liz gone off to war?”
“Yeah. The letter just arrived the day before yesterday. She’s probably making her way through the Lichtine territory by now.”
“Then I’ll excuse myself…”
Kiork stopped Hiro, who was about to step on the Swift Dragon, in a hurry.
“You’re going without breakfast?”
“Yes, something is bothering me…”
One of the things written in the emperor’s letter――the appearance of the demon race. The current demon race that exists in the central continent is a mix of other races, and there are no purebloods.
However, the fact that they took the trouble to report it means that the demon race that has appeared in the Principality of Lichtine is most likely pure-blooded.
Hiro had fought for supremacy with the demon race a thousand years ago, and he knew firsthand how strong they were.
(If it’s a half-decent demon, Liz can probably handle it, but if it’s the one with the demon stone, it would be dangerous.)
The demon race possesses a mysterious power called magic. Some of them have little magic power, while others have an excessive amount. The only way to distinguish them is to see if they have a crystal somewhere in their body.
Magic power that cannot be contained within the body accumulates outside the body and crystallizes. The name “Demon Stone” has been established because it exerts a power similar to that of a spirit stone.
It’s not hard to imagine that it would be a very dangerous situation if it were to come into contact with Liz.
Although he may not have understood Hiro’s thoughtfulness, Kiork put a wry smile on his neat face.
“Then you should buy some food and water in the town. Perhaps when you take a break along the way――.”
Hiro called out to Kiork, who had begun to rummage through his pockets again, and stopped him.
“It’s okay. I’ve got food and water here.”
He then twisted his body to reveal the jute bag on his back.
“I see. Well, then, go ahead and be careful. I’ll be here waiting for good news.”
“Yes, I’ll be back.”
After saying goodbye to Kiork, who was smiling like a mother, Hiro stepped onto the Swift Dragon and pulled on the reins. When the Swift Dragon jumped up and ran, it stamped its feet on the ground with great strength.
In the blink of an eye, the mansion was far away. A strong wind slapped Hiro’s cheeks and made his black coat flutter.