Here’s the chapter, enjoy~
As he sat back in his chair, Ranquille was in a state of extreme confusion. Karl, sitting next to him, must have felt the same way. The expression on his face was somewhat uncomfortable and inexplicable.
It was no wonder. The treatment of prisoners of war has always been a miserable affair. But then again. They were not abused, nor were they violated. Although their weapons had been taken away, they were not even tied up in ropes. The place where they were brought as if they were honored guests was a cool tent in the desert in the middle of summer.
“What is the meaning of all this?”
“You’d better believe they’re up to something.”
Ranquille rubbed his chin and groaned as he tried to speak. Even with his intelligence, he can’t seem to solve this puzzling mystery.
There’s no need to scheme against him. There is no need for anyone to make a plan against them because if they are eliminated, the Principality of Lichtine will collapse.
Many nobles would have turned, causing chaos in the country, bandits and brigands would have run rampant all over the place, and monsters would have overrun the country along the way.
“Do they want the territory?”
“They will demand it, but it is a weak reason.”
If they wanted territory, all they had to do was kill Ranquille and the others and then cut off any part of the country they wanted. It’s a shameful story, but after Ranquille’s death, none of the nobles had the spirit to reclaim the stolen territory. They will probably choose to surrender without any resistance.
“There is no need to feel depressed just because we are the losers. If they ask us to do something unreasonable, we can refuse.”
Karl’s face is contorted in anguish. He may be afraid that he might offend the other party and be punished. Ranquille noticed but didn’t bother to point it out.
He feels responsible for the defeat, but he wants Karl to grow up through various experiences for the future. As things will continue to get rougher at home and abroad, Ranquille may not be there when he is faced with an important choice.
Although it may not be a fortunate opportunity for him to gain experience in order not to be misled by the sweet words of the nobles around him, it is a good opportunity.
“I’ll leave everything to you. I will follow your decision.”
Karl nodded hesitantly to Ranquille, whose eyes lit up with a powerful light. How long had passed since the silence had fallen, and the water in front of him had become lukewarm? He took a sip of it to taste the poison, but there was no smell, no stimulation.
Although he did not think it was poisoned, he had been exposed to assassinations and other threats for many years, and he could not escape his ingrained habits. Just as Ranquille smiled, the sound of light footsteps shook his eardrums.
The one who entered the tent was a girl wearing a ceremonial cloak over the Grantz Empire’s military uniform.
“Commander of the Fourth Imperial Army of the Grantz Empire, Celia Estrella Elizabeth von Grantz. Also, the sixth imperial princess.”
Although it was the first time he had seen her, he could tell that she was the new commander of the Fourth Imperial Army, the sixth princess, because she was as beautiful as the rumors said she was. However, that was not the reason why Ranquille furrowed his brows. It was because he saw the red sword hanging from her waist.
(The five emperors of the spirit sword… is the first time I’ve seen it in person, but I get the feeling that it’s quite extraordinary.)
Then he looked at the princess and the red sword alternately and understood why they were calling her the “Flame Princess.” After all, she had been chosen as the Spirit Sword holder, and she wore an air of supremacy that belied her age. These people are terrifying because they can suddenly start to transform. However, her fire was still weak, and her talent did not seem to have blossomed. So, Ranquille concludes that she is not the one who cornered him.
Then, when he saw the boy who had just walked into the tent, he was at a loss for words. He was wearing a black robe with dragon designs on the shoulders over the old military uniform of the Grantz Empire.
The boy wore an eye patch that covered half of his face. One eye is hidden…
(…The Heavenly Spirit Eye?)
It is one of the world’s three most secret eyes, also known as “distinctive eyes.” It is a physical characteristic that can be said to be a heroic quality possessed by legendary figures.
There is no one in the world, let alone in Ranquille, who does not know about it. There is only one person in the world who has twin blacks. Or more correctly, there was only one person in the world.
Even if one doesn’t know the name of the Emperor of the Grantz Empire, they do know the name of the “God of War.”
(This is all very surprising… I didn’t expect a descendant of the second emperor actually to exist.)
This is the first time that he’s seen “distinctive eyes” that have only been preserved in lore.
“I am the chief of staff for the Fourth Imperial Army of the Grantz Empire. My name is Hiro Schwartz von Grantz. I am the fourth prince.”
It doesn’t make one feel the grip. Even though his face is smiling, there is an eerie hint of observation flying from the depths of his eyes. The dark eyes that invaded every corner of people’s minds were filled with an abyss that made them think that all their thoughts were futile.
The person who claimed to be a second-grade military officer, Driks, passed out two parchment pieces to the two of them.
“Please sign here after you check it out.”
What was written on the parchment was――,
The Principality of Lichtine will transfer the northern part of the country to the Great Grantz Empire and will compensate for the munitions and war expenses consumed by the country.
In addition, the two countries will sign a non-aggression pact for the next two years, with the exception of events that threaten the security of the Grantz Empire, which will give the right to occupy any territory of the Principality of Lichtine.
(Not bad… The northern part of the country is less fruitful, and the loss of one oasis city won’t hurt. It is troublesome that the Grantz Empire will intervene in the name of security, but it can also be used against them. The reparations can be made by selling off the private wealth accumulated by the… predecessor prince.)
Gathering his thoughts, Ranquille tries to give Karl a look and fails. The black-haired boy put his hand on the desk and tapped it with his fingers.
“If the Steichen Republic invades the Principality of Lichtine in the future, we can come as reinforcements if you pay for the cost of the war, although this is an unspoken agreement.”
“…Is that true?”
Karl leaned back from his chair and asked in return.
It’s easier said than done ― and it’s not that simple.
In fact, if the Steichen Republic were to attack, and the Grantz Empire rushed to reinforce them, it could open the door to war with the Steichen Republic. Unless Felzen regains its stability, they should try to avoid any trouble.
“Yes, if that’s what you desire.”
“But don’t you have your hands full with Felzen? Even if it’s just a verbal agreement, can you just arbitrarily make such an agreement?”
“It’s fine. Such minor matters will not shake the Grantz Empire.”
A chill ran down Ranquille’s spine when he saw the smile that Hiro gave to Karl. He could tell that he was planning something. But his intentions were hidden in the darkness, and it was not easy to find out.
“If you are convinced, will you please sign this?”
Hiro’s outstretched hands indicated the parchment.
There is not enough time to explore this man’s stomach. The more time he tried to buy, the sooner this man would come up with something unreasonable. Catching Karl’s pen in his hand out of the corner of his eye, Ranquille gave a small sigh before signing it. He held out the parchment that he had filled out, and Hiro took it and checked the signature on it. After exchanging a few words with the sixth princess, he handed it to the staff member standing beside him.
There was a moment of silence, and then Ranquille’s voice broke the silence.
“I have a question for you if you don’t mind.”
Hiro’s eyes turned to Ranquille.
“No problem. Is there something on your mind?”
“The siege that defeated us was brilliant. If I’m not mistaken, it was the same strategy I tried to use against the Fourth Imperial Army.”
The strategy that Ranquille used to defeat the Fourth Imperial Army was to lure them deep into their territory by using their fortifications as bait to make them believe that they were advancing at a rapid pace, then have them fight the Liberation Army and when they were exhausted, surround them and beat them.
In contrast, Hiro’s plan was to use logistics as bait, make them think they had the upper hand, create a situation where they could not retreat, and then launch a siege on the exhausted Principality of Lichtine’s army.
Thinking about it, it was the same kind of plan that Ranquille had come up with, albeit under different conditions.
“The question arose. Was it a pre-developed strategy, or… was it the same strategy to remind us of the difference in power? I would like to know for future reference.”
“I’m sorry if I offended you, but when I heard the reports of the Principality of Lichtine’s army’s movements, I knew what kind of measures would be used. It was only after I joined up with the Fourth Imperial Army that I thought of applying them.”
“Joining forces… was that when General Kylo was still in command?”
“That’s right. I didn’t know the state of the Fourth Imperial Army, so I didn’t know what kind of measures would be needed.”
The boy avoided saying anything explicitly, but he probably meant both. It was one of the measures he had prepared beforehand, and he must have taken the same measure to bring Ranquille to his knees.
“Then, a messenger will be sent from the Ministry of War later. If you have any questions, you can ask them then.”
Hiro and the sixth princess left their seats. The sixth princess went out first, and Hiro tried to go out too.
Ranquille hurriedly called out to him.
“Can I ask you why you let us live? I’m not sure if I can say it myself, but… I’m still known as the “Raging Eagle of the Turning Sun” and feared by the surrounding nations.”
A man praised as a hero, Ranquille vowed to take revenge, and after rebuilding his country, he attacked the Great Grantz Empire. It’s not hard to see why a wise boy wouldn’t think of that possibility.
“Although I lost this time, there is a part of me that wants to fight again to regain my pride. If you think about it… you should have killed me to save yourself the trouble in the future.”
Ranquille was an intelligent man, but he was also not a man who understood things well enough to bend the knee easily. Now he would be no better than a howler of a loser if he said this, but he couldn’t help but listen even if he was ridiculed. He stared at the boy’s back, holding the tingling wound on his cheek.
“Will you answer me, please?”
Karl, whose face has gone pale, called out to him in a whisper.
If the boy is displeased, the two of them will lose their heads right now. He would like to say that he is not going to waste the life he saved. In fact, Driks, the second-class military officer, was throwing him a look that was clearly filled with dissatisfaction. If he had been in Hiro’s position, he might have sentenced Ranquille to death, but it seems that the Twin Black Prince was not a man of small capacity.
“You are smart. You’re smart enough to know what you should do.”
Hiro pointed at Ranquille’s cheek and walked away. Driks, the second-grade military officer, followed in silence.
Karl patted his chest and looked at Ranquille.
“Marquis Ranquille, suddenly saying something like that… what’s wrong? You’re sweating like crazy.”
Even without being told, he knew that a great deal of sweat was pouring out of his body. For a moment, when Hiro turned around, he was prepared to die. It was such a strong killing intent.
He looked at Karl, who was looking into his face with concern and thought.
(…Is there only one way for the Principality of Lichtine to survive?)
There is no way that Karl will be able to compete with Hiro. The number of people in the world who can withstand that supreme energy is probably limited.
(If it is determined that it is not worth using…)
He would never forget the glimpse of madness behind the boy’s eyes.
(That boy may be coming to kill us.)
Ranquille traces the scar on his cheek with a trembling finger.
This is a warning ― an indication that he can kill at any time. It was a warning and a curse, not for the present but the future.