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“…Now I just have to wait for Liz to bring her in.”
The general situation has been decided, but there are still those who refuse to admit defeat. In order to get the Liberation Army to lay down their weapons, they will need Ghada and the leader girl.
Hiro walked past the rebels who had laid down their weapons and started to surrender and made his way to the place where Ghada had been. However, the soldiers of the Empire surrounded Ghada, and Hiro could not see him.
They are on the watch to make sure that the rebels don’t get him back. But the numbers are way too large for that.
As Hiro weaved his way through the soldiers to get to the center――,
“Don’t think that a demon race can survive in this world against a human race.”
A son of a nobleman wearing fine armor was kicking the demon. There were other soldiers who took advantage of the situation and assaulted Ghada.
“If it weren’t for the First God’s generosity, you would have been eradicated by the War God. You’re an ungrateful lowly race that forgets that favor and turns on the human race!”
It was no wonder they felt that way. They could not help but be emotional since many of their friends had been killed. Hiro might have let them off the hook if they had thought it through.
However, it was completely unforgivable for someone to act in such a way that would interfere with the entire army just to relieve his grievances for a moment.
“You should stop there.”
Hiro’s stern voice was met with an impassive gaze.
“You little brat. Who are you talking to?”
“You and your followers.”
“…Do you know who I am?”
“I don’t know, so you’d better tell me. Are you a famous general leading a unit?”
“I lead the 26th unit. Daniele von Edward, a captain.”
Lord Daniele was in the rear of the first group… and if he had witnessed Hiro’s fight, he would not have taken such a pompous attitude. The soldiers around him, who knew how Hiro fought, retreated, their faces are drawn together.
He might have come up here after receiving the news that the demon had been captured. It is not possible to overlook military discipline violations, including arbitrary actions and excessive mistreatment of prisoners.
“…You little shit, choose to die or be a slave.”
It’s an affordable position to tighten up discipline. For the future, his life would be no better than the Ghada’s. After much deliberation, Hiro concluded that he did not need this man for his future plans.
“I’m sorry. I can’t give you a choice. I can always replace you as the squad leader.”
“Didn’t you hear me? I said your life is not worth it.”
“What are you――?”
Lord Daniele’s head fluttered in the air as he tried to grab onto Hiro, trailing a trail of fresh blood. His head fell to the ground with an angry look on his face, spreading the blood.
“Ah, my apologies. You were worth it. By dying here.”
With everyone at a loss for words, Hiro approached Ghada and crouched down.
“Are you okay?”
“It was just right to wake me up.”
“I don’t want you to die. I won’t let anyone touch you again. You can relax.”
“You make me feel like I’m better than these people.”
“Haha, I’ll take that as a compliment.”
By the way, said Hiro while he stretched his back and looked around.
The soldiers finally regained their composure and put their hands on the hilt to draw their swords.
“Ah, it’s better not to draw your sword. You don’t want to be accused of disrespect, do you?”
The swift dragon approached Hiro, threatening the soldiers.
Hiro took one of the sticks hanging from the dragon’s side and thrust it into the ground. The wind blew, and the cloth that had been wrapped around it spread wide under the sky.
It was the coat of arms flag that had once been flown by a man.
Nowadays, it is only preserved in folklore and can only be seen in the world of paintings. This is how sacred it is to the people of the Great Grantz Empire.
――It is a flag with a dragon holding a silver and white sword on a black background.
This is the divine flag that the second emperor and one of the Grantz’s twelve great gods, the “God of War,” raised.
Everyone’s eyes were wide open. As if they had just witnessed a legendary being, they alternately looked at the flag and Hiro, only to open their mouths wide, unable to utter a word.
It was Ghada who broke the silence.
“Hahahahahaha, now it all makes sense!”
Hiro looked suspiciously at Ghada, who suddenly started laughing. Ghada roared into the sky.
“You used me! Did you let me live just for this? Is this what you wanted?”
You’ve got to be kidding me, said Ghada at last. At that moment, the Demon Emperor’s Sword took on a glow and disappeared as if it were melting into the air. It took a moment for Ghada to notice, his face contorting in frustration, and he immediately broke into a grin that seemed to be both sincere and sorrowful.
“…What a faithful thing.”
His expression made Hiro think. The Demon Emperor’s sword had given up on Ghada.
“Now you’re just a demon. But you still have the magic stone, so you’re probably strong enough.”
“Are you satisfied?”
“I don’t know. For me, I’d be happy either way.”
Even if Ghada was abandoned by the Demon Emperor’s Sword, it would not hinder his future plans. Then Hiro looked over at the soldiers. They seemed to be completely bewildered and stunned as they looked at Hiro. How long are they going to stay in this stupor?
Hiro sighed and threw a few words at the soldiers.
“My name is Hiro Schwartz von Grantz. I am a descendant of the second emperor, who is also the God of War. I have become a member of the Grantz Imperial Family as the fourth prince.”
Hiro’s voice wasn’t loud, but it sounded clear even in the midst of the noise.
“As a member of the imperial family, I cannot allow anyone to disrupt our military discipline. Earlier, Lord Daniele had mistreated the prisoners excessively. I’ve punished him for it, but if anyone has any objections, please step forward.”
The voice was not particularly beautiful, but it still had the power to make those who heard it obey.
“There are none, huh? Then capture those two.”
Hiro pointed to the people who had been violating Ghada along with Lord Daniele. The soldiers who were pointed out to Hiro retreated with a shocked look on their faces, but they were restrained by the soldiers who followed Hiro’s orders.
“L-Let go of me!”
“What’s wrong with you? The demon killed my friends! You must hate him too!”
Since Lord Daniele was punished, they should not be pardoned. It would be bad for morale, and the soldiers would not understand and would be frustrated.
They must be punished accordingly.
“Take them to the rear. And the rest of you, notify your units. No excessive mistreatment of surrendered personnel.”
Hiro looked down at Ghada as the soldiers began to move swiftly with the orders.
“It’s about time that the girl you care for was brought here.”
“I will kill you if there is even a scratch on her.”
“…Is she that important to you? If you don’t mind, I’d like to know why.”
After a bit of hesitation, Ghada opened his mouth, as if he realized that there was no point in fooling around.
“…It’s a little inconvenient for a demon to lead a human race. And so I used her. In spite of my selfishness, she obeyed me. I wanted to send her back home safely, at least, but with the way things are going. That’s not going to happen.”
“In that case, I have a proposition for you.”
“Yes. If you obey my orders from now on, I will send the girl home safely.”
Hiro continued to tell Ghada, who frowned suspiciously.
“I think that’s not a bad idea. It’s not easy for you to rescue the girl and escape from the battlefield when you’ve lost your magic sword, and you’re probably not foolish enough to take such a simple step.”
“If that’s true, how do you plan to prove it? There is no guarantee that you will be able to deliver her safely.”
“I swear to the Spirit King.”
Hiro turned his eyes to the south after saying so. A horse is coming towards him. The one who was riding it was Liz. She slowed the horse down and pulled the reins to a stop in front of Hiro.
“I’ve captured the girl.”
A girl with a black hood was sitting in front of Liz.
“Thanks for the effort. So she is?”
“Mirue, commander of the Liberation Army.”
The girl in the black robe replied. Hiro walked up to her and looked into her face and was struck by a sense of deja vu.
While Hiiro was puzzled, Mirue jumped down from the horse and hugged Ghada.
“I’m sorry. I just couldn’t do it…”
“No. I’m glad you’re okay.”
“Are you hurt?”
“No. That Onee-san protected me.”
Hiro looked at Liz as they rejoiced in their reunion.
“Before we talk about the future, can you tell me what’s going on at the front?”
“By the time I reached the rebels’ main camp, all that was left was the girl’s personal guard.”
“Only the guards?”
“Yes, the others left the battlefield as soon as the war started. It seems that some of the troops in the enemy’s main camp also fled immediately. So the resistance was small, and I was able to capture Mirue easily.”
“Do you know which way they ran?”
“I heard it was east.”
“Thank you very much. I understand now.”
Hiro looked to the east. The rear of the rebel army fled in the direction of the Arzuba fort. It’s a gentle climb, and it is impossible to see through to the other side. Hiro turned his attention back to Ghada.
“Ghada. Did you organize the rear with mercenaries?”
“Yes, and a few slave infantrymen as well.”
That’s settled. The rearguard has certainly been bought by the Principality of Lichtine. It is no time to think about when and where. It’s a fact that the rearguard has disappeared, and therefore it is necessary to deal with it.
“Liz, I believe you’re in command of two thousand men now, but are you leaving Tris in charge now?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
After hearing Liz’s reply, Hiro called out to the two cavalrymen astride their horses.
“What can I do for you, sir?”
“I’m sorry to ask you to take the place of the messenger, but I need you to go to the left flank and tell Lord Tris. Tell him to deploy his troops to the east. Tell him it’s an order from Her Highness Celia Estrella. He’ll understand it.”
“Also, I want you to go to the main camp and tell General Kylo. Tell him to send a reserve unit to the east, where the Principality of Lichtine will appear. You can tell him that this is an order from the fourth prince.”
“Very well, sir!”
Then Hiro turned to Liz.
“Liz. I want you to hurry up and meet up with Tris and take command of the left flank.”
“What about Hiro?”
“The enemy will be charging at us, so we’ll have to beat them to the punch. I think I can buy us some time.”
Hiro grabbed his own flag and jumped on the swift dragon.
“What should Mirue and I do?”
Ghada interrupted the conversation.
“Mirue should go with Liz, and you should follow behind them on a camel.”
Hiro swung his silver sword and cut the rope that tied Ghada.
“You want me to go free? I might just kill that little girl over there and escape.”
“You can’t beat Liz now that you’ve lost the Demon Emperor’s sword. You can’t take Mirue and run away from here, as I said before.”
And besides, who knows what will happen if Hiro is just left them here. He didn’t want them to escape, but he also didn’t want them to be killed. He had no choice but to do this. And Hiro doesn’t think that Ghada will escape.
Because of Mirue’s existence, if he leaves her in Liz’s care, Ghada won’t be able to make any inappropriate moves. He will follow her quietly.
“Well, I’m off.”
At the top of a gentle slope, a large amount of dust rose into the sky from the other side. Hiro tightened his expression, kicked the swift dragon’s belly, and ran across the sandy plain.