Here’s the chapter, enjoy~
The hot sun was shining down on the main camp of the Fourth Imperial Army. However, the air there was calm and peaceful. Some soldiers could be seen chatting and laughing, and the scene was so joyous that it was hard to believe that the enemy had been spotted nearby. In the center of the room, a curtain was set up to keep out the dust.
Inside was a simple desk with a map spread out and General Kylo and his staff surrounding it.
“The scouts report that the Principality of Lichtine’s army is retreating――.”
One of the staff put a piece on the map.
“It seems that they are waiting here to see what happens. The enemy seems to be sending out scouts as well, which means that our situation is being relayed to them.”
The staff officer looked up and saw General Kylo.
“Is that all right, sir? The fourth prince’s order was to send a reserve unit.”
“I don’t care. I don’t need to listen to the orders of someone whose identity is not certain. What if it is the work of an enemy spy?”
“But it is certain that the army of the Principality of Lichtine had come to this place. Two thousand cavalrymen may not be enough.”
“You are a worrier. If it were Kigui, he would not have said such a thing.”
Kigui is the name of the second-in-command who was assisting General Kylo. He recklessly confronted the demon and died in battle. When General Kylo learned of his death, he was so angry that he almost forgot himself, but his staff members did their best to calm him down, and he was able to avoid the situation.
“And the fourth prince was flying the coat of arms of the second emperor, wasn’t he?”
“That’s what I’ve heard.”
“If the man is truly a descendant of the second emperor, then he will be able to work according to the legend.”
“If he leads 10,000 men, he is without equal in the heavens. If he leads 1,000 men, he is without equal on the earth. The God of War strategy controls the whole world――That’s what it said, right?”
“Right. It sounds ridiculous, but if he is a descendant, 2,000 is enough. He will have no enemies on earth.”
General Kylo chuckled. It was clear that he was mocking Hiro.
One of the staff seemed to think that the general was making a bad joke, but he just frowned and said calmly.
“It’s a myth, and we don’t know what it really was. Above all, what if he really was a descendant of the God of War? Not to mention the citizens, many people in the Fourth Imperial Army believe in him. If they find out, General Kylo’s position will be in jeopardy.”
It was clear from his words that this staff member was one of the believers.
General Kylo’s smile faded, and his anger swelled.
“Shut up. What is your rank, Driks?”
“Second class military officer, sir.”
“If you understand that, you may step back now.”
General Kylo waved his hand grandly, urging the staff officer he had called Driks to leave.
“You’ll have to leave now. The air here is a little heavy for you.”
The other staff members looked away from Driks, feeling sorry for him. However, Driks, who was urged to leave, could not go out.
“Second-grade military officer Driks, you are allowed to remain here.”
A girl was standing at the entrance of the curtain—a girl with red hair. The staff members all bowed their heads as the “Flame Princess” appeared. General Kylo bailed lightly and gave an amended smile.
“What brings you to a place like this? I thought you were selfishly moving your left flank in preparation for a raid by the Principality of Lichtine?”
Liz frowned at the sarcastic remark.
“I want to talk to you about that. Why is it that despite repeated requests, you have not sent a reserve unit?”
“You are not the commander of the Fourth Imperial Army. There is no better reason than that.”
General Kylo snickered at the little fool and noticed the presence of a boy next to the sixth princess.
“I don’t like the idea of having an outsider in a place like this. Even if you are a member of the royal family, this is not acceptable behavior.”
Upon closer inspection, he noticed that there was another person behind the sixth princess. He can’t tell if it’s a man or a woman by the hood, but judging by the height, it could be a child or a woman.
General Kylo glared at the three of them sullenly.
“I would have punished you severely if you were a soldier, but unfortunately, you are a member of the royal family. I will dismiss the matter. I hope you will be careful in the future.”
He sighed deliberately, then waved his hand as if to scare away a dog.
“If you understand, go back to commanding the left-wing. This is not a child’s playground.”
“General Kylo, you――.”
Liz was about to close in, but someone put a hand on her shoulder to stop her.
“Liz, wait. Let me handle this.”
General Kylo looked at him suspiciously when the boy called the sixth princess by her nickname. But without being able to find an answer, the boy walked up to him.
“Hello, nice to meet you; you are General Kylo, correct?”
Black hair, black eyes. In the Grantz Empire, it’s called twin-black, a color that doesn’t exist among the people of this world. Even more bizarrely, an eye patch covered more than half of the boy’s face, and his body was wrapped in a black robe, reminiscent of the mythical “God of War.”
“My name is Hiro Schwartz von Grantz. The fourth prince of the Great Grantz Empire.”
Hiro held out his right hand for a handshake.
“Oh… that’s right. Even though I am the fourth prince, my rank is a third-class military officer.”
Hiro took a glance at Driks, who had been asked to leave, then returned his gaze to General Kylo and said happily.
“I suppose I can’t shake your hand because I’m lower in rank.”
“N-no, that’s… not true.”
The suspicion was still strong, but General Kylo shook his hand and then opened his mouth.
“I’m sorry, but do you have any proof?”
“I’d say this hair and eyes, but if you say I’m in disguise, then… I guess this black robe will be the proof.”
Hiro tapped his chest――at the “Black Princess Camelia,” and the hem of it poked out like an arrow, sending General Kiro flying.
The suddenness of the event made it impossible for him to catch the attack. General Kylo’s body hit the ground hard, and he let out a heavy breath. Because of his trained body, General Kylo stood up immediately, but his body staggered as if he couldn’t breathe, and his face was contorted in pain.
“W-what are you doing?”
In response to General Kylo’s anger, the staff reached for the sword’s hilt at their waist.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry, it seems I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and took a belligerent attitude. Besides, the Black Princess Camelia is a timid person. Once she pulls out her weapon, she can’t control herself. Even I, the master, can’t stop her.”
Chuckling, Hiro looked around at the staff.
“Do you want to try it?”
None of them nodded. Everyone in the room, except Hiro, who seemed to be familiar with the name “Black Princess Camelia,” was transfixed by the black robe. They seemed stunned to see the “royal power” that only the second emperor was allowed to wear up close.
Hiro saw to it that the murderous intent was gone from the air and reached into his pocket and pulled out a piece of parchment.
“If you don’t believe me, or even the Black Princess Camelia, you might want to read this.”
General Kylo approached with cautious steps. It seemed ridiculous to him that he had been so overbearing, and then suddenly, he was so quiet. But after such an attack, it was only natural that he would adopt this attitude.
General Kylo frowned as he picked up the parchment. He must have realized that the letter was from the emperor. He quickly glanced at it and lost all color as soon as he saw it.
Slowly, General Kylo looked up and stared at Hiro, appalled.
There is no way to describe it… and General Kylo had a hint of agitation in his eyes. Hiro lightly patted General Kylo on the shoulder. Then he asked for the emperor’s letter back and said with a clear face as he rolled up the parchment.
“I’ve been ordered by His Majesty to transfer the command to me if you are unsuccessful. I’m thinking of placing Celia Estrella, the sixth princess, as the new commander, and I’ll be her assistant…”
“D-don’t be ridiculous!”
General Kylo, whose body trembled with anger, interrupted Hiro’s words.
“To give the command to a young man like you?”
“Not to me, but Celia Estrella, the sixth princess.”
“It’s the same thing!”
Although the heat was sticky, General Kylo’s overheating made the air even hotter. He was even more agitated than when the Black Princess Camelia had attacked him.
The staff members were cowering and looking at each other with trepidation.
Hiro shrugged his shoulders, raised his right hand, and put his index finger to General Kylo’s mouth.
“Silence. You can’t change anything by screaming. Take it in stride.”
“Wha――! T-there’s no way I’m going to accept this kind of humiliation…! I won’t accept it!”
“I’m telling you to shut up.”
A shimmering white line flashes through the air. The blade was attached to General Kylo’s neck.
“I’ve given you many opportunities. And all you’ve done is act like a fool by dragging your feet. Don’t talk back to me, you incompetent bastard.”
“I’ll let you know what happens to you later. This is not the right time.”
As soon as Hiro put the Heavenly Emperor back in its sheath, he looked from General Kylo to his staff.
“You are just as guilty if you just follow your commander without admonishing him. If you just nod, there is no need for staff.”
The boy was much younger than they were. However, the intimidation that he radiated was that of a great warrior. The staff members all gasped for breath, fear filling their faces as they apologized.
General Kylo’s plans for his career may have gone awry, but he was stunned by the younger Hiro’s harsh words. Then Hiro comes in to finish him off.
“You may go outside to cool down.”
General Kylo’s face turned red, and he silently fell to the ground.
“General? Please get a hold of yourself!”
“Let’s get you to a military physician!”
General Kylo was carried away on the shoulders of two staff members. He didn’t expect to be so agitated that he would faint, but he shouldn’t be broken.
Then Hiro gave Liz a look, and she gave a small nod and walked over to the desk.
“Let’s start the military discussion. Don’t be afraid. Would you be willing to offer your opinions?”
At Liz’s declaration, the rest of the staff tightened their expressions and straightened their backs.
As soon as Hiiro walked out of the military meeting, he was hit by bright sunlight. Outside, a large number of soldiers were moving about hurriedly. The ground had been trampled over and over, causing sand to mix with the air and scatter with the wind.
The wind played with the banners held by the flag bearers in the sky, causing the hem of his black robe to sway mischievously.
Then Hiro noticed a change in the crest flag.
“They work fast.”
All of General Kylo’s heraldic banners in the main camp had been taken down, and in their place were the banners of the sixth princess――a lily on a red background. This meant that Liz had taken over the command from General Kylo. However, even if she took over the command, it would be meaningless if she could not win this battle.
As Hiro was lost in thought, a woman hugged him on his back. He didn’t have to look back to know who it was. Hiro smiled bitterly.
“Liz, what’s up all of a sudden?”
“It’s been a long time since we’ve seen each other. Shouldn’t you be more than happy to see me?”
Liz’s mouth twitched in frustration as she put her strength into her arms to protest.
“Of course I’m happy. I’m glad to see you’re okay.”
“Mmm, something is missing here. Yeah, Hiro’s words are lacking. It’s okay to be more aggressive, you know? Just show it with your actions.”
Somehow she was in a good mood and twined herself around Hiro’s body, but Hiro couldn’t help but be concerned about the soldiers’ gazes. Liz didn’t seem to care, and as if that wasn’t enough, she rubbed her cheek against Hiro’s neck.
“Liz… There’s a lot of people looking at us here, so let’s not do that.”
It’s not that Hiro doesn’t like it, but he’s embarrassed. When Hiro gently told her, Liz pulled her body away.
“That’s true, too. Then we’ll continue this later tonight!”
She was as whimsical as a cat, going from passionate to easily separate.
“No, um… why are――.”
Hiro was about to ask back.
“Everyone is probably tired, but let’s just hang in there a little longer!”
Liz took Mirue and walked into the group of soldiers who were filling bags with sand.
“Princess, we can handle this kind of chore by ourselves…”
“It’s okay. I’m doing this because I want to. Don’t worry about it, just keep working.”
The captain’s body shook with emotion, and he let out a loud voice.
“Don’t let the princess’s hand be troubled by you! Let’s get this over with right away!”
Chuckling at sight, Hiro caught sight of a figure out of the corner of his eye. As Hiro approached him, he called out to him.
“May I have a moment?”
“I-is it me?”
The man with the straight back was a staff officer named Driks, who was about to be kicked out for speaking out against General Kylo. He was saved by Liz’s appearance just before he left.
He seemed to be more nervous about meeting a descendant of the second emperor than about being approached by the royal family. Hiro smiled cheerfully and patted him on the shoulder to get him into a more comfortable posture.
“There is something else I would like you to do, apart from what we have just discussed.”
Hiro had just ordered a quick retreat in the military council. That’s what Liz and the others are working for. The retreat would be after they had made some plans in case the opponent noticed them.
While there were ways to win without retreating, it would cause more than a little damage to their side. What Hiro wants is a complete victory――he must fight to bring his opponent to his knees, to make them believe that they cannot win, and to chain them together.
“What is it, sir?”
“May I have the report addressed only to General Kylo?”
Driks expression tightened as if he realized what Hiro was trying to say.
“…I understand. I’ll bring it to you right away.”
After watching Driks’ back as he walked away, Hiro walked forward. He wanted to help Liz and the others with their work. It’s not only the commander but also the one who stands at the top who must set an example, and people will not follow just by giving orders. If they marched deep into enemy territory, it would be very important as they did this time. They must eat later than the soldiers and do their duty quietly without complaining.
It is a simple but important matter that affects morale. It’s not something visible, but it will have a dramatic effect later on.
“Liz, I’ll help you too.”
Liz stopped her work and turned around. She wiped the sweat from her forehead and tilted her head.
“Don’t you have other things to do, Hiro?”
“I’ve notified the captains of each unit of the change of command and sent them instructions for the future. And as far as I can see, there’s no confusion. All we have to do is wait for the scouts to come back.”
From what Hiro had heard, Liz had been in close contact with each of the captains. He didn’t know what was going through their mind, but anyway, thanks to that, no one showed any defiance.
Even from here, he could see that they were working as ordered. All that was left was to wait for the scouts to return, and until then, Hiro would have nothing to do.
Liz complained as if she was still not convinced.
“We’ll have to rely on Hiro from now on. I hope you have some energy left in you, but… you’ve been through so much fighting. You must be a little tired, right?”
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t tired, but I’m the only one not doing anything.”
Liz made a troubled face at Hiro, who shrugged his shoulders.
“Hmm, I guess if I force you to take a break, you’ll work somewhere else. I think it’s safer to keep you within my sight.”
“Haha, I’m not a child anymore…”
“Is that so? Hiro is always disappearing when I take my eyes off him.”
“…Now, stop talking and get to work.”
If he continued to poke around in the bushes, he never knew what would come out. Hiro deceitfully joined the soldiers and began to work. Not long after that, a scout came back to Hiro.
“Your Highness Hiro. As you ordered, I’ve been spying on the enemy army.”
“Thank you for your efforts.”
Hiro handed him a bag of water and waited for the scout to catch his breath.
“As Your Highness Hiro predicted, the slaves embedded in the enemy army seem to be losing their will to fight.”
“Did they seem unable to move quickly?”
“No, the slaves have been placed in the rear, and the camel cavalry has been brought to the front. They seemed to be ready to charge at any moment.”
“Will they bite us if we show an opening?”
“It seems so.”
“But they don’t seem to have a firm plan. Our preparations are coming to an end; let’s shake them up.”
Hiro raises his hand. He signaled to the soldier with the drum. The drums were beaten loudly. The sound of the drums shook the air and traveled through the air to the soldiers.
The first to move was the cavalry on the left flank. They began to march eastward. The cavalry of the right-wing, which had been bypassed behind them, followed.
Hiro carried on his back what he had made earlier, and when he called out for the swift dragon, he stepped on its back.
“Liz, the rest is as explained in the council.”
“All right. Be careful, okay?”
“Okay. I’ll entrust it to you.”
“All right, let’s get to work, everyone! Act fast!”
As if buoyed by Liz’s voice, Hiro drove the swift dragon eastward.
“Yeah. The wind is blowing nicely.”
Hiro smiled as he listened to the sound of the drums beating in the sky.