Here’s the chapter, enjoy~
Chapter 4 – The Fire Hidden In The Blizzard
October 10, 1023rd year of the Imperial Calendar.
It was a very cold day. The sun rising in the eastern sky was blocked by clouds, unable to reach out to the earth. As if a beast was roaring, a strong wind was blowing up the snow that had fallen, hitting the walls of houses.
The central street, usually lined with stalls, was closed and deserted with no people passing by. This was because the people were holed up in their houses, saying their prayers and holding their hands over the fireplace, waiting for the blizzard to pass.
However, in contrast to the situation in the city, the “Purple Silver Palace” was filled with heat.
The faces of the people bathed in the scattered light in the hall were dyed with joy, various dishes were laid out on the more than twenty long tables, and the silver goblets were spilling out intricate and fascinating light from the light source. Surrounding the table are the nobles chatting with wine in hand.
“Well, well, I’m surprised. A blizzard struck on such a festive day.”
“There’s no need to take it badly. Maybe it’s a blessing from the heavens.”
“That’s right. It is said that the day we demons were born, it was a disaster that split the earth.”
“I see. Well, perhaps today is a good day, considering that.”
“Yes, it’s the anniversary of Princess Claudia’s sixteenth birthday.”
As one of the nobles said that, everyone’s eyes turned to the princess sitting near the king.
“Her beauty would rival that of the Sixth Princess of the Great Grantz Empire.”
“Have you seen her before?”
“No, I’ve only heard rumors about her.”
In the midst of the nobles talking about such mundane things, Hiro was alone, looking around with a meal in his hand.
(Although the air is calm…)
When he looked overhead, he saw a band of musicians playing a melody from an overhanging platform. When he looked at the hall wall, he saw soldiers with noisy equipment standing there with weapons in their hands, as if to say that they were fully protected.
“Your Highness, Hiro, you don’t seem to be enjoying yourself much.”
“Oh, no, it’s not like that.”
It’s not that he’s not enjoying it. He felt very out of place, sipping water while everyone else was drinking.
“Hiro-dono, are you enjoying yourself?”
A man with a thin face called out to him. He wore a luxurious cloak that gave him an air of nobility and dignity. His appearance gave the impression of maturity, but looking at his figure alone, he looked like a young man.
Fraus van Levering. He is the heir of the Levering Kingdom. Hiro bailed lightly and opened his mouth.
“The Crown Prince Fraus, I have enjoyed my time here very much.”
“But from a distance, you seemed to be bored.”
After jokingly saying that, Fraus drank the wine in one gulp, walked over to the desk, and returned to Hiro with the bottle in his hand.
“Come on, let’s drink. If you don’t enjoy it, the Ancestor King Rox will be saddened.”
Fraus tipped the bottle to him, but Hiro shook his head.
“No, I don’t drink alcohol, but I’m grateful for your kindness.”
“…That’s too bad. Then we’ll have to do it another time.”
“Isn’t this security unusual for a banquet?”
Hiro pointed out, and Fraus’ face distorted grimly for a moment.
“We are welcoming the royal family of the Great Grantz Empire. Naturally, security will be tight.”
With an exaggerated hand gesture, Fraus continued his explanation.
“We have a thousand soldiers inside the palace and more than a hundred here as well.”
Fraus said, turning his head to look around.
On the first floor, the guards kept a watchful eye on the walls for any intruders, and on the second floor, the musicians were playing elegant music with their instruments. Behind them, a pair of royal guards were on the lookout.
Nothing to be afraid of. Fraus nodded in satisfaction and gave Hiro a gentle pat on the shoulder.
“Don’t worry, the three demon generals are in charge of the security, so not even a mouse can sneak in.”
“I see, so if anything unusual happens, it won’t be known to the outside world?”
“You don’t need to know such details.”
Fraus smiled wryly at Hiro’s words.
In the meantime, a cheer went up from the right, and the grand doors connecting the hall and the corridor were opened.
“It seems our hero has arrived.”
As Fraus said this, a tall man approached.
“Welcome. Are you sure about the security?”
“Everything is fine.”
The man put one hand on the hilt of his sword. A large purple crystal, the source of magic power, is embedded in the hilt.
(…Heh, that’s an old magic stone.)
It’s a shape that he had seen a thousand years ago, a magic stone left behind by one of the demon lords, the king of the demon race. The owner of the stone was beheaded by Hiro with his own hands a thousand years ago.
“Hiro-dono, this is one of our heroes, the three demon generals, Sir Garius Van Sarzand.”
“Hiro Schwartz von Grantz.”
When Hiro held out his hand, Garius happily shook it back.
“Oh! You are the descendant of the God of War! Your bravery and valor are known all over this remote land as being worthy of your ancestor.”
“Rumors tend to run wild, you know. Don’t believe too much in them.”
“Don’t be so modest. By all means, let’s see what you can do later!”
Garius is about to pull out his sword, and Hiro looked fed up with his attitude.
“Garius, that is enough.”
Fraus intervened as if he could not bear to see it.
“You’re troubling Hiro-dono. How’s the security situation?”
Although dissatisfied, Garius pulled away from Hiro and opened his mouth.
“…I don’t think any bandits will get in.”
“That’s encouraging. And why are the three demon generals here? You guys don’t like this kind of place much, do you?”
“We thought we’d take the opportunity to have some fun. It seems that that guy was originally planning to join in, too.”
Garius’ gaze fell on a certain person. He was wearing a hood, and his expression was unrecognizable. It’s just that he is standing eerily by the wall.
“He is Baal Van Bitenia, one of the three demon generals. He is the master of the title of Discerning Eye Demon and is also the wielder of the magic bow Fail Note.”
Fraus noticed that Hiro was looking at him suspiciously, so he explained to him.
“I see, so it’s him…”
As Hiro nodded, the musicians began to play a loud sound. The atmosphere in the royal hall rippled wildly as the music shifted from quiet to boisterous.
“Time flies, doesn’t it? I must go and greet my father soon――.”
Fraus snorted and took a sip of wine. After a short pause, he placed the goblet on the desk as if to slam it down.
“You are welcome to join me, Hiro-dono.”
“Yes, I was just thinking that I should be going as well.”
Both of them began to walk shoulder to shoulder. Hiro looked sideways at the expression of Fraus but could not read what he was thinking at all.
“What do you think of this country, Hiro-dono?”
As they walked up the stairs to the throne room, Fraus asked him.
“It’s a good country, I think. The people are cheerful, and the king is a good ruler. If I had any complaint, it would be the cold.”
Fraus stopped with an ironic smile on his face.
“You can go on ahead, Hiro-dono. I will wait until after you have finished your greetings.”
“All right, then. I’ll see you later.”
After bidding him farewell, Hiro walked up the stairs. The king was seated on his throne, and Princess Claudia was sitting next to him, smiling elegantly.
“Oh, Hiro-dono, you’re here!”
The king, who was in a strangely good mood, probably because of the alcohol in his body, welcomed Hiro with open arms.
“I apologize for the delay in greeting you. Thank you for inviting me here today.”
“There’s no need to be so formal. I hope you are enjoying yourself.”
“Yes, I’m having a very good time.”
“That’s good. Forget about work today and enjoy yourself to the fullest!”
“I will do so. Then, I hope that the friendship between the Great Grantz Empire and the Levering Kingdom will continue for a long time to come.”
Hiro bowed lightly and turned on his heel. At that time, he caught Claudia bidding him lightly out of the corner of his eye. As he began to walk, he passed by Fraus. His expression was distorted with unconcealed anger. He was glaring at the king with fixed eyes.
He was about to turn around when he felt a stir in his heart.
“Oh! Fraus! The banquet you organized for us seems to have been a great success!”
“Haha, Father. This is all for Claudia’s sake, to show the authority of our Levering Kingdom.”
“Fumu. Hiro-dono was enjoying himself.”
The conversation is going on happily. Perhaps it was just his imagination, but Hiro was about to go down the stairs.
――At that moment.
A loud sound of something falling struck his eardrums. The eerie sound reverberated, creating a cacophony of sound along with the melody played by the musicians.
What Hiiro saw when he turned around in a panic was…
“Father. You are not a great ruler, nor are you a bad ruler. You were simply an ordinary king. In a peaceful world, that might have been a good thing.”
Fraus, holding a blood-soaked sword, looked down at the headless king on the floor. There was a groan from the nobles who sensed the abnormality, and the tense air made their bodies heavy.
“However, the time to come is different. It’s not just a matter of following the orders of the Grantz Empire. We, the demon race, must become independent. This is the only way to do so. I know it’s a shame, but I’m sure… father will understand.”
Fraus covered his face, which was distorted with pleasure, with one hand, and bent his body into a crooked shape and gave a loud laugh.
“Hahahaha, I can’t tell you how happy I am! For at last, the throne is in my hands!”
Slowly, Fraus’s head moved, and her bloodshot eyes turned to Hiro.
“Pfufufu, hahaha, Hiro-dono! You’re still here. What’s that look on your face? Are you surprised?”
Fraus continues to laugh madly with his back slumped. Simultaneously, a scream came out of Princess Claudia’s mouth, and she cried out as she hugged the body of the king. However, it is drowned out by the screams of the nobles.
When Hiro looked around the hall, he saw that the royal guards were attacking the nobles.
From a soothing place, the royal hall was filled with tyranny.
“The king, our parent, is just a piece of meat when it comes to this. No different from livestock. Don’t you think so, Claudia?”
“Brother… As I expected, you!”
“It’s your fault for spouting nonsense like that. I will have to do something about it. You are the one who made me cross the last line!”
“Brother… you really are a fool, aren’t you?”
“I’ll take that line straight back at you.”
Fraus approached Claudia and pulled her hair wildly.
“You will not be lonely. Your father is gone, but I am here. You may not be free, but you are not alone.”
“Leave everything to me. I won’t let anything happen to you.”