Here’s the chapter thanks to the Ko-Fi donators for this chapter. 1/22
Chapter 3 – Come To The North
September 30th, the 1023rd year of the Imperial Calendar.
This was the fifth morning since their departure from the Great Imperial Capital. The envoys, including Hiro, had arrived at the northern border with a hundred guards.
The northern part of the country is ruled by the northern nobility, led by the Sharm family, one of the five major noble families.
The main headquarters is the “White Silver Castle” located in the center. The temperature is very low in the north. As a result, the region suffers from severe cold. On the other hand, the southern part of the region is relatively warm, so the people mainly live there, and the wealth of the Sharm family is supported by the fertile black soil that spreads all over the southern part of the region.
After a physical examination at the northern border, Hiro and the others were led to the outer gate.
“I apologize for the rudeness of examining a member of the royal family, but please forgive me.”
“No matter what one’s position, a border guard can’t be said a soldier if he treats people differently.”
Hiro replied from the carriage and looked to his right. There was a man on horseback, the chief of the guard station, who was in charge of the guard station. He is a middle-aged man who wears a blanket over his heavy armor, and his beard is stained white from the cold.
“It would be a great help if you said so.”
Exhaling a white breath, he dismounted and walked up to the gate in front of him.
“Raise the gate!”
The gate slowly went up, emitting a thunderous sound as if the ground was shaking.
“There was nothing but snow on the ground, but I wished you a good trip.”
The carriage carrying Hiro and the others stepped through the gate and into the north.
“It’s so beautiful!”
Hugin said excitedly.
“Cold, cold, cold!”
Behind her, Munin was shivering under four blankets. Looking at her brother, Hugin quickly got out of the carriage and returned to pick up the snow.
“Brother. Eat this and shut up.”
“My dear sister. That’s indeed a death ― gobohh!”
The snow was shoved into his mouth, and he rolled around on the ground in agony. Hugin returned next to Hiro, looking down at her brother with eyes colder than snow.
“Wise brother, this is the first time I have seen snow. It’s so cold!”
Hugin was impressed as she looked at her wet, melting hands. Hugin’s voice sounded excited. But as for Hiro, he couldn’t help but be concerned about Munin, whose face was pale.
“No, Munin is about to die… Is he going to be okay?”
“Wise brother, I’ve never seen snow before. It’s so cold!”
Hiro could not believe his ears as he heard the same words as before. Hiro decided not to mention Munin’s case and decided to go along with Hugin’s talk.
“Aah… Yes. Haven’t you ever been outside of the Principality of Lichtine before, Hugin?”
“I used to be a mercenary, but I only went as far as the Steichen Republic and the Grand Duchy of Dral.”
“I see. Then I guess it’s understandable that you are surprised by the snow.”
Normally, a reaction like Munin’s would be typical for a normal person, but maybe, since she is a maiden, she forgets about the cold when she sees something beautiful. As they drove along the snow-covered road for a while, talking about such trivial things, they noticed people standing in the way.
If it had been just one or two people, they would not have cared.
“…..Wise Brother, those are…”
Hugin grabbed a nearby weapon with caution.
“Hiro-sama, what should we do?”
Munin also sharpened his eyes and put his hand on the hilt of the sword at his waist.
In front of Hiro and the others, a huge army that filled the entire landscape was lined up in an orderly fashion.
“If I’m not mistaken, that flag belongs to the Second Prince.”
Hiro’s eyes grew stern, but he motioned for them to put away their weapons. He then looked at Driks for his opinion, but his mouth quivered with nervousness.
“Yes, a silver wolf on a white background ― indeed, that is the Second Prince’s coat of arms flag. There are also other flags of powerful nobles scattered around. I don’t know what their purpose is, but… I don’t think they’re going to go to extremes.”
There are too many of them, but they should not attempt to do anything. Even so, Hiro didn’t expect them to try to make contact with him in such a spectacular way…
“Anyway, we’ll have to get closer to find out.”
“Are you sure? If they intend to harm the wise brother…”
As Hugin said with concern, Hiro relaxed his cheek to reassure her.
“If that were the case, they would have done it long ago.”
It’s not like they’re going to war, so they can approach without hesitation. There is no point in staring at each other in silence. They can’t move forward until they hear what the other side wants.
“I was wondering… if the other side had the same idea.”
About 20 horses from the army, a unit of horses separated from the army and approached Hiro.
The leader of the group is a person with an androgynous face, with an eye-catching appearance. The color of his eyes is different ― blue on the left and gold on the right ― and this gives a strange impression. His blue hair, reminiscent of the sky, was as soft as silk, and his body was thin and covered in brown fur, with silver and white armor peeking out from underneath. His dismounting figure was flawless, and his walk had the air of a champion. With his hands on the hilts of the swords on his hips, the person let out a white breath and smiled elegantly.
“Werwolf Sharm Selene von Grantz, the Second Prince of the Great Grantz Empire. I’ve heard that there is a new brother of mine here…”
Selene looked around at the group, and his eyes narrowed as he caught sight of Hiro.
“Black hair, black eyes ― the twin black, I’m surprised it exists. But I’m pretty sure it’s you.”
“Yes, I apologize for the late greeting. I’m Hiro Schwartz von Grantz.”
As soon as Hiro got out of the carriage, he approached Selene and held out his hand.
“Yes, yes, it’s nice to have a good and polite boy like you as a brother.”
Selene shook his hand back.
“And you know, your name has been heard all over the north.”
I wonder about that? Hiro smiled slightly.
“I don’t know what kind of rumors those are, but they tend to be traced from all over the world.”
“You don’t have to be so modest. I have seen your plan to defeat the Principality of Lichtine.”
“I was just lucky, you know. I think it went too well for me.”
“Yes, I suppose so. Well, I think it was very convenient that General Kylo was killed in action.”
Selene, who has a brisk demeanor but a keen eye, wraps his arms around Hiro’s neck.
“I don’t think we should stand around talking, so why don’t we take our time and talk in the carriage?”
“Unfortunately… I have to go to the Levering Kingdom now. Couldn’t we just talk another time?”
“Don’t worry. I’m well aware that you are coming here as an envoy. It would be difficult to shift the schedule, so I thought of this. I’ll go with you.”
“But… if you take that large army with you, the schedule will be significantly delayed.”
Hiro pointed to the large army that filled the snowfield. Even a light estimate is over 30,000 soldiers.
“Oh, then you can rest assured. I’ll accompany you with about twenty cavalrymen, including myself.”
“I can’t offer much in the way of hospitality, you know. It’s cold, and the food won’t be luxurious.”
“Don’t worry about that. I have a better tolerance for the cold than you do, and you can’t be a commander if you complain about the food in the army.”
Selene walked Hiro to the carriage and forced him to get into it. As Selene exchanged greetings with Hiro’s companions, he finally looked at Driks, and his voice flashed.
“It’s been a long time, Driks. How’s uncle doing?”
Munin and Hugin looked at Driks in surprise at those words. As for Hiro, he was not surprised because he had predicted it beforehand since Driks was originally from the north.
Driks awkwardly lowered his eyes and made a vassal’s bow to Selene.
“Gils-sama is… he’s in good health. He was lonely, you see. Why don’t you go to the Great Imperial Capital sometime?”
“There’s no point in going to that uptight place.”
With one hand wandering in the air as if he was annoyed, Selene came to sit next to Hiro.
“Above all, there’s Stobel. The central nobility is also full of unsavory people. It’s more meaningful to run around in the snowfield than to get caught up in political disputes like that.”
Selene, with one eye closed, said mischievously, isn’t that right? He asked Hiro to agree with him.
“But you are the fifth in line of succession to the throne. You cannot stay out of the political fray. If you continue to be selfish, it will eventually come back to you.”
Although he was the Second Prince, he was the fifth in line of succession, and that was because he was confined to the north instead of going to the center. In other words, he doesn’t want to be bound by the throne; he just wants to enjoy himself as he pleases.
“Do you want to be an emperor?” Selene asked Hiro.
Seeing Hiro at a loss for an answer, Selene continued without hesitation.
“The Grantz Empire is already complete. It indeed stands on an unstable foundation, but it has survived for a thousand years. Now that it has experienced prosperity, slowdown, degeneration, and stagnation, there is not much this country can do.”
Holding up his index and middle fingers, Selene waved his hand repeatedly.
“The lion is still wandering around looking for food. There are only two ways left for a starving lion. Either it eats the world and lives, or it starves and dies ― I prefer the latter, by the way.”
His bold statement left everyone in the carriage speechless, sensing the disquiet that lurked there. Selene’s voice grew feverish as he looked around with amusement at these people.
“Even for an old lion, you should have a lot of power if you want to be its owner. But it’s only if you can keep the pack together. Even though you are an absolute king, you will die with your shoulders narrowed, paying attention to the faces of many nobles. I don’t want to be that kind of weakling.”
“You’d better keep that between us.”
Hiro warned him. If this conversation gets to the center, many of the nobles will turn against him. It was such a dangerous statement. And considering that Hiro would use it, he shouldn’t have said it here. However, Selene smiled cheerfully as if it were just another matter.
“I don’t care if the people in the center know about it.”
What he had in mind was not pride but absolute confidence.
“If they threaten the north, 200,000 northern armies, including the Fifth Imperial Army, will take care of them.”
This is a word that backs up the fact that Selene is in complete control of the north.
It’s a tough one, Hiro thinks. Except for Hiro, the rest of the people were swallowed up by the strange atmosphere created by the intensity of the statement, which was simply a statement of fact without any pretense.
“Ah ― that was a bit out of line. I hope you don’t mind. I just wanted to let you know that I have no ambition for the throne.”
After patting Hiro on the back a few times, Selene turned his attention out the window.
“It’s time to build an encampment. It gets really cold in the north after the sun goes down.”
Then, shifting his gaze to Hiro, he narrowed his eyes sharply, like a wolf hunting its prey.
“And above all, it’s dangerous at night when monsters are wandering around.”