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September 20th, 1023rd year of the Empire’s calendar: Near Horen in the Central Region’s eastern part.
Hiro and the others, seen off by Kiork, moved along the streets off Schein’s Grand Highway to the east. It was to meet up with the widow of the Kelheit family.
“It has been quite some time since I met Rosa-aneesama. We’ve been exchanging letters, though.”
As the carriage began to shake comfortably, Liz spoke to Hiro.
“Rosa seemed very happy when she talked about you.”
“Really? That makes me happy. My educator was Rosa-aneesama. Maybe that’s why she’s always been so fond of me.”
Apparently, for women in the Grantz imperial family, the older sister serves as the educator for the younger sister for a certain period. As for the male members of the family, it is said that they do not do so in order to avoid unnecessary conflicts due to issues such as the right to inherit the throne.
That’s why the sisters are said to be quite close to each other ― the first princess suffers from weakness and is currently undergoing medical treatment in a local temple, and the second princess died early in her childhood, so they don’t know each other. The fourth and fifth princesses are twins and are close in age to Liz, but they share a mother with the third prince Blutar, so they became distant as soon as Liz gained the Flame Emperor’s favor.
“That’s why I only exchange letters with Rosa-aneesama now.”
There was a hint of sadness in Liz’s voice.
She has lost so much and gained so little since receiving the favor of the Flame Emperor. However, depending on how she moves in the future, she will have the opportunity to get back what she lost. For that reason, Hiro wants her to reunite with her sister first so that she can get back what she lost, even if it’s just a little.
“If so, you should be looking forward to meeting Rosa. You’ll be able to meet up with her soon, and you can tell her what you couldn’t tell her in your letter.”
“Yes, I have a lot to tell her. I’m sure a day or two won’t be enough.”
“That would be great. I’m sure Rosa has a lot to tell you as well.”
When Hiro said this, the carriage stopped, and the window was tapped. When Hiro looked at the window, he saw the second-grade military officer Driks peeking in.
“A messenger from the Kelheit family is asking for permission to join us here.”
“So Rosa-aneesama has come! Permission granted. Allow them to join us at once.”
As soon as Driks left, Liz opened the window.
“Look, Hiro! It’s full of eastern noblemen’s banners!”
There was another road in front of Liz’s eyes. The march there is the army of the Eastern nobility, led by the Kelheit family. Hiro and the others got off the carriage at the intersection of the two roads and greeted Rosa.
A hundred or so cavalrymen from the Eastern nobility army separated and approached Liz and the others.
The one at the front of the line is Miste Caliara Rosa von Kelheit. She is a great woman who lost her husband at a young age and is the acting head of one of the five great noble families, the Kelheit family.
Astride a white horse, she looked more majestic, perhaps because she was wearing a military uniform with a purple base color. In addition to this, her refined beauty has never waned, and the combination of her beauty and charm has further enhanced her unparalleled good looks.
“Oh, Liz! Long time no see!”
As soon as Rosa got off her horse, she immediately hugged Liz.
“How have you been? Did you ever get sick? The letter said you were fine, but there are some things I can’t understand until I see you up close.”
“I’m totally fine. I’m glad to hear that Rosa-aneesama is also doing well.”
The two exchanged greetings, embraced for a while, and then separated.
Then, Rosa suddenly glanced at Hiro.
“Oh, you’re looking well, too. Did you miss me when you were away?”
Her ample breasts pressed down on Hiro’s face, and she gave him a crushing blow. It was a spur-of-the-moment event, but Hiro tried to take evasive action. However, he decided not to disturb the atmosphere and gave up and raised his arms to be hugged in Rosa’s arms.
“Yes, yes. Your body odor is as thin as ever. Many Grantz people have a smell that sticks out even from a distance, but yours doesn’t bother me at all.”
Hiro smiled wryly at Rosa as she sniffed his neck and other parts of his body.
“Well… I’ve often heard that Japanese people have a light body odor.”
Hiro wasn’t sure about his own smell because he was used to it, but Rosa’s smell was well perfumed and combined with her sexiness, it made his head spin.
“Now, let’s not be too happy about this reunion.”
As Rosa pulled away, satisfied, she put her hands on her hips and put on a serious expression.
“I have a few things to report. Let’s go back to the carriage first.”
When Rosa pointed to the carriage behind them, Liz and Hiro nodded curiously and turned to walk to the carriage. Of the three who sat in position, Rosa was the first to speak up.
“There is no need to be too serious about this, but I heard that the northern nobles are going to hold a large-scale military campaign.”
The Great Grantz Empire is divided into five regions: North, West, East, South, and Central. It’s also commonly referred to as the five major territories. While the emperor governs these territories, it’s the archdukes known as the five great nobles who are entrusted with its management.
“Do you mean that the head of the Sharm family has made a move?”
“No, it’s the second prince who is behind them.”
The second prince’s mother is from the Sharm family ― that’s why the northern nobility supports him. However, the second prince does not move outwardly because of his weak health, and he rarely comes to the center, as if he is not interested in the struggle for the succession to the throne.
“I wonder what kind of change of heart he had.”
“Well, even if he wanted achievements, the only country that borders the north is the Levering Kingdom. Even though the emperor is aiming to unify the central continent, he is not going to attack a country that has been a long-time ally.”
If that’s the case, what is the purpose? The second prince, who had never moved before, suddenly started to move. There must be a meaning to it… but there is too little information about the second prince.
(For the time being, we can only wait and see.)
Hiro shook his head and interrupted his pondering, and Liz clapped her hands next to him as if she remembered something.
“Ah, yes, speaking of the Levering Kingdom, wasn’t the princess’ adult ritual coming up soon?”
The Levering Kingdom, also known as the Land of the Demons, is a race that dominated the central continent a thousand years ago. However, when the human race rebelled against the tyranny, other races followed suit, leading to the war ― and the demons were defeated and driven to the southern archipelago.
However, some of the demons have chosen to stay in the central continent in order to save their brethren, who failed to escape.
Those remaining demon tribes founded the Levering Kingdom. However, due to the fact that they have been intermingling with other races for a long time, most of the children born nowadays do not have any magic power ― even the royal family does not have pure blood ― and the current situation is that they are becoming closer to the human race as the generations progress. The more generations that come, the more human they become.
“That’s right. I’ve also heard that she is very beautiful. They call her the Purple Silver Princess. By the way, I envy her; I hear her skin is as white as snow.”
Rosa reacted to Liz’s words and gave Hiro a meaningful look.
“As a descendant of a former ally and a beautiful woman, you must be interested in her as a descendant of the God of War.”
A thousand years ago, there were five “Black Heavenly Generals” who gathered under Hiro, who was known as the Hero King. One of them was Rox Van Levering, a kind-hearted demon who sided with the human race. Hiro is also interested in the country that he created, but when he sees Liz’s pouting face, there is no way he can talk about the beautiful princess.
After looking at Hiro’s puzzled face, who was at a loss for words, Rosa changed the subject.
“Well, let’s leave the northern part of the country alone for the time being, and let’s talk about the central nobility next.”
“Is there any movement?”
“It was a mistake to expect anything from the Factionless. They were intimidated into silence. Even those with a certain amount of power are failing to get on the same page, only criticizing.”
As if to say that she is disappointed, Rosa sighed deeply.
“By the time I’ve finished bringing the eastern nobility together, the Krone family will be in a more solid position than before. Of course, I don’t intend to just watch with my fingers in my mouth, but I’m also certain that there’s nothing I can do about it.”
Although Rosa is the acting head of the Kelheit family, which is in charge of the East, she has not yet gained the trust of all the East’s nobles, even though she has borrowed the name of Hiro.
Even if they wanted to use other families, the western nobles are concentrating on fighting the Felzen Remnant Army, so they don’t have time to interfere with the central nobles. The southern nobility shows no signs of moving, and the northern nobility is engaged in military campaigns at a critical time.
This is the reason why the Krone family, which unites the central nobility, is leisurely tightening their faction.
“I have prepared the next move. This is why I decided to go through Viscount Wurst’s territory.”
When Hiro threw out his words with confidence, Rosa sharply glanced at him.
“I believe… you are going to bother his mansion today, aren’t you?”
“Viscount Hans von Wurst. He has one town and three villages in his territory. He seems to be imposing heavy taxes on his people. Therefore, I’m going to ask for improvements while visiting the Great Imperial Capital.”
“That sounds like a good idea, but do you think Viscount Wurst will listen to it obediently?”
Liz waved her hand in dismay as if to say that she was worried.
There is no way he will listen. Although the center has recently begun to fall apart, the Krone family’s influence is still alive and well. Well, if you could get hold of one of his weaknesses, you could break him down from there.”
“This is where the weakness of Viscount Wurst comes into play. I sent letters to the central nobles and the leading nobles in the area before I left Berg Fortress. I’m sure they’ll make some sort of move.”
“…Hmm, mm? Maybe you want them to pull each other’s leg?”
Hiro squinted at Liz’s words. Rosa also looked at her sister with great interest. As Liz may have noticed a change in the atmosphere. She showed embarrassment on her face.
“Oh, did I say something strange? I’m sorry then.”
As she began to apologize, Hiro hurriedly shook his head.
“No, you’re right; the central nobles are going to have to pull each other’s legs.”
The letter also stated that he would be resting at Viscount Wurst’s mansion, and the central nobles who read it suspected that Viscount Wurst might turn and would likely do something to stop him. There was also a possibility that factionless nobles or the archdukes who ruled other territories would try to sabotage the situation.
Hiro had predicted this, but he hadn’t expected Liz to realize his real intentions.
“Neesan glad to see that Liz is growing up!”
“Hey, Rosa-aneesama, that’s terrible!”
Hiro smiled at the sisters and then muttered to himself.
“That’s why I’m going to take advantage of the movement of the noble lords to make a move on the central nobility.”
“But is it going to be that easy?”
Liz pushes her sister back and turns to face Hiro.
“I can understand it, so I’m sure there are other people who can see through it.”
“Well, I’m sure there are more than a few who realize the true meaning of the letter. But there are also many who can’t decipher it. Especially the corrupt nobles who only think about themselves regularly.”
Even if no one makes a move, there’s no chance of failure because it’s insured.
“Well, we should be arriving at Zuik soon.”
When Hiro looked out the window, he could see Zuik, the city ruled by Viscount Wurst. Zuik is a medium-sized city that was built after the five major territories were established.
Because of its proximity to the Great Imperial Capital, Zuik has never been involved in wars, and for this reason, it has expanded without building walls to its current state. It also flourished as a satellite city, with many adventurers and merchants stopping by on their way to the Empire’s capital, so the streets were filled with people even at night.
The mansion of Viscount Wurst, the feudal lord, is located in the center of the city, which is built in a circle.
When Hiro and the others, accompanied by an escort of about a hundred cavalrymen, arrived at the mansion, a band of musicians began to play spectacular music from a protruding platform on the second-floor mansion.
“Your Highness, Celia Estrella, we have been expecting you!”
There was a person who welcomed Hiro and the others with open arms.
“I am Hans von Wurst, the emperor’s representative in charge of Zuik.”
Viscount Wurst, a middle-aged man, adorned with jewels, bowed as a vassal before Hiro and the others. He was surrounded by many servants, all of whom were handsome men and beautiful women.
“Thank you for your hospitality.”
Liz gave a slight exclamation and walked past him without a glance. She was followed by Cerberus, who had just joined her. Then she stopped and looked at Viscount Wurst while patting Cerberus on the head.
“I’d like you to prepare a meal and a bath for me if you don’t mind.”
Without seeming to be offended by Liz’s coercive tone, Viscount Wurst stood up happily.
“Of course! All the preparations for the dinner party have been made without a hitch! Now, this way, please.”
While Hiro watched the exchange between the two, Rosa put her hand on Hiro’s shoulder.
“He seems to be a very persistent man. I was afraid he might show his dissatisfaction with Liz’s attitude.”
“No, he’s just used to it. I think he thought Liz was easy to control.”
Although it is not clear what he thinks secretly, a man like Viscount Wurst is very skilled in the art of dealing with people. The fact that the servants around him are all handsome and beautiful is probably not so much a hobby of his as it is a way to cajole influential people.
“Is there a girl you like? Though they are two or three steps inferior to me.”
Rosa’s words sounded brazen, but she wasn’t wrong either, so Hiro said straightforwardly.
“No, I don’t think there’s a prettier girl than you.”
“You’re honest, then let’s share a bedroom today.”
That means that Liz must be included.
“Haha, I’ll think about it.”
Hiro stepped into the mansion, pondering how to escape the crisis.
Viscount Wurst led them to the great hall, where a sumptuous meal was laid out on a table covered with clean sheets. There were servants at each of the chairs, and the welcome was also very enthusiastic.
“Please take your seats. I have gathered all the specialties of central specialties. Please eat before it gets cold.”
Viscount Wurst said, and Hiro and the others took their seats…
“Eh, isn’t this strange?”
Hiro said aloud without a second thought. He sat down in the middle of the table, leaving the upper seat open for Liz, but she seated herself right next to him, and even Rosa sat next to him on the left.
“There’s nothing wrong with it.”
“That’s right. It is the same as always.”
“Eh, but if we keep this up…”
In the past, the handsome men and beautiful women prepared by Viscount Wurst would have sat down to fill the gap between Hiro and the others. Therefore, they were bewildered, and their confusion was evident.
Viscount Wurst was also flustered, but he quickly regained his composure, dismissed the handsome men and beautiful women, and sat down opposite Hiro and the others.
Cerberus then took the vacant upper seat. As Liz’s favorite pet, he could not get rid of her, and Viscount Wurst opened his mouth with a twitch of his cheek.
“W-we shall begin the banquet. First of all, I would like to thank the twelve great gods of Grantz for allowing me to meet your highnesses, and then I would like to thank the Spirit King for bringing the Grantz Imperial family and our Wurst family together.”
With a glass of wine in his hand, Viscount Wurst began his lengthy speech.
“It’s rare to hear such a heartless speech. The gods would have rotted their ears if such a man thanked them.”
“You’re exaggerating, Rosa-aneesama. Although it is indeed long and annoying.”
“Liz is also surprisingly blunt. Well, he’ll be drunk in less than a second.”
Hiro and the others began to eat the food while listening to the words of Viscount Wurst.