Sponsored chapter by Patreon, enjoy~
“Leave everything to me. I won’t let anything happen to you.”
Fraus smiled a vulgar smile. His eyes were dominated by lust. He forced Claudia to stand and put his arm around her slim waist, pulling her close.
“We’ll be together from now on. We will have――.”
Fraus’s words were cut off mid-sentence. His eyes caught sight of the necklace on Claudia’s chest.
“Why ― why do you have it?”
A low, gruesome voice came from Fraus. He was staring at the necklace as if to burn it into his eyes. Claudia took advantage of the opportunity and pushed Fraus away.
When the distance between the two opened up, Claudia tightened her grip on the necklace to protect it.
“B-brother. What is the meaning of all this?”
“Give it to me. It’s no use for you to keep it.”
“Answer me! Why did you kill father? And why did you kill the lords like this?”
“You don’t need to know. You just do as I say and keep quiet.”
Fraus approached Claudia, who was stepping back but stopped halfway.
“Why don’t you stop there?”
This is because Hiro stood in between them.
“Hiro-dono… what are you doing?”
“I saw your face; it was so ugly and unbearable to look at.”
With Claudia at his back, Hiro raised his right hand to protect her. Then, the Heavenly Emperor appeared out of thin air, and the tip of the sword was perfectly positioned on the face of Fraus.
Seeing the sudden appearance of the “Heavenly Emperor,” Fraus panicked and moved backward.
“What the hell is that?”
“You don’t have to worry about it.”
Hiro dropped to his knees. With his sword held horizontally, he twisted at the waist and placed his left hand on the blade.
In the face of his graceful movements, Fraus showed obvious dismay as he realized that he was serious.
“Hiro-dono, wait. I need you to be my prisoner. We will not mistreat you; we will treat you like a guest. You must serve as a bargaining chip for the Grantz Empire.”
“If you say so, there is no need for me to put down my sword.”
It was a quick move, and the stab was delivered. Fraus was unable to avoid it, and his right arm flew through the air, trailing a tail of fresh blood.
“Agaaaaaaaahhh! M-my arm… a-aaaahh!?”
“It’s unsightly. There’s no limit to how ugly you can be. If you are the Crown Prince of a country, clench your teeth and endure.”
“I-I’ll never forgive you, you bastard. I’ll kill you!”
“I will let you live. Because you are valuable as a hostage.”
Fraus is definitely the one who caused this situation. It would be possible to get out of this situation by taking the mastermind as a hostage.
As soon as Hiro took a step forward, a disembodied head flew from his left side. The head bounced off the floor several times before gravity pulled it to a stop.
Four heads, twisted in pain. Both Hiro and Fraus were familiar with them. They were the heads of high-ranking officials of the Grantz Empire.
“Why did you kill the envoys?”
Surprisingly, it was Fraus who spoke up. Judging by his dismay, it was probably not his order.
“I apologize. I tried to evacuate them politely, but they resisted, so I had to cut off their heads.”
“W-what the hell are you doing… are you trying to get into trouble with the Grantz Empire?”
“Don’t worry, we captured a few of them alive, so they won’t be a problem.”
“Don’t be silly! If you kill even one of them, you will definitely incur the wrath of the Grantz Empire!”
Fraus continued to scream, but the tall man ― Garius ― ignored him and came up the stairs. With blood all over his body, he looked like a demon. However, he would not be in such a bad state after beheading only four people. As long as he didn’t go out and splatter himself with blood, it was clear that he had taken care of everyone except the envoys.
“Well, I’ll deal with you from here. I would like to say that, but, Hiro-dono.”
Hiro braced himself suspiciously for Garius, who had stopped in his tracks.
“No, no. Behind you.”
Hiro quickly repelled one of the arrows that came flying at him. The second arrow flew right between his eyes. He succeeded in avoiding it too, but Garius jumped on him.
“Hahaha! As expected of the descendant of the God of War! You will certainly give me a good time!”
Hiro dodged Garius’s attack and turned his attention to the entrance of the hall. A large door was thrown open, and a large number of soldiers came avalanching in. They flashed the tips of their spears and made the blades in their hands glow dully as they slashed at the nobles without hesitation.
The nobles, who were not wearing swords and were too drunk to resist, had their lives scattered in the blink of an eye.
“Baal’s skill with the bow is first-rate. Even in a crowded place like this, he is able to hit the target accurately. Avoiding them won’t be an easy task!”
Garius replied to Hiro, searching for the arrow source from the place that had become an acrimonious scene.
“Fuh, how long are you going to stay on the defensive? I’m getting tired of this!”
After avoiding Garius’ blade by turning his body upside down, Hiro turns to attack. They struck each other with one, two strikes, dodged the flying arrows, and then struck again.
(This is bad… It’s hard to protect Princess Claudia when dealing with two of them.)
The hem of the Black Princess Camellia flipped and repelled the three arrows that came at Hiro in rapid succession. The flying arrows were not aimed at Hiro but Princess Claudia.
Baal probably thought that… Garius’s skill is inferior to Hiro’s, and he has switched his target to Princess Claudia to block Hiro’s movement.
(I have to find and slay this Baal fellow…)
Princess Claudia’s life will be lost. There is no hesitation in the trajectory of the arrows; they are being fired to take away her life for sure.
While he was pondering this, many nobles were being killed in the royal hall.
Screams, shouts, exclamations, and all the negative cries in the world dominated the hall. Besides, the royal guards, who had their hands free, were coming towards the throne.
“What’s the matter? You’re hesitating to attack! You’ve got a lot of leeway against me!”
“I simply decided that it was enough to deal with a man like you.”
“Look, you’re losing your footing.”
It was too late for Garius to notice. He was already cornered toward the stairs.
“I’ve identified the location of the person named Baal. I can protect Princess Claudia if I stand in the path of the arrow.”
Hiro kicked one of Garius’s legs.
“So, let’s call a truce. I don’t have enough time to deal with wild boars.”
Garius stepped off the stairs, and his stance collapsed. He couldn’t overlook the large gap that was created, and immediately Hiro threw a front kick at Garius’ body.
Garius tumbled down the stairs with tremendous force. At a glance at the figure, Hiro turned himself around and rushed to Claudia.
“Princess Claudia, we need to get out of here as soon as possible.”
“There is no time for hesitation. What are you going to do if you stay here? There’s nothing you can do now. You have to get away to avenge your father’s death.”
Claudia hesitated for a moment, then stood up with a powerful light in her eyes.
Claudia took Hiro by the hand, and they arrived at the back of the throne. A curtain with the country’s coat of arms had been pulled down on the wall, and when Claudia carelessly flipped it open, an iron door appeared.
However, the door had no handle, and there was no space. It seemed as if it was just wedged into the wall.
“I-isn’t this a closed door?”
There was no time left to pry it open. Then, next to Hiro, who began to search for a forceful way to escape from the doorway, Claudia took out a necklace from her chest.
“No, my father taught me to use this to open the door.”
Claudia showed him the purple crystal on her necklace. Despite the situation, Hiro narrowed his eyes at the nostalgic feeling of the magic stone.
(Oh… I thought I’d seen it somewhere. Rox, it’s your magic stone.)
He felt as if he had met an old friend. A comrade in arms that he had given up hope of ever seeing again.
Hiro felt his eyes burning.
This is not a relic of the demon but a magic stone left by the first king of the Levering Kingdom, Rox van Levering. It’s called “precious jewel” because it will be passed on to the next generation of kings, and it’s also called “golden purple crystal” because it takes on a vivid color depending on how the light shines on it. It is also called gold and purple crystal and is highly valued among magic stones.
Claudia put the gold and purple crystal into the hollow in the center of the door. Then the door naturally opened with a heavy sound.
“Where does this――.”
Hiro tried to ask where it connects to, but he pushed her back hurriedly. This is because many arrows were coming through the gap between the approaching guards.
Hiro flashed his Heavenly Emperor. He knocked down all the arrows and slashed at the guards.
“You guys are getting a little carried away.”
He chopped off the head of one of them and then slashed the neck of the second one. When he slipped his blade through a gap in the armor, it pierced the body of the guard and sent a spray of blood flying through the air. Before the spattered blood could stick to the floor, Hiro crossed his white and silver light to build a pile of corpses.
“You still want to do it?”
Hiro smiles fearlessly as he stands at ease in the midst of a cloud of blood.
The momentum of the guards came to a complete halt when they were shown an overwhelming display of military might.
“Ugaaaaaaahhh! How dare you humiliate me!”
Garius cut through the soldiers and rushed toward Hiro with his sword in his hand, his temper swelling.
“No need to apologize. I’m not going to forgive you either.”
A moment later, Garius’ sword and the Heavenly Emperor’s blade exchanged sparks.
“I want you to rest assured that I will take your head. So just keep it clean and wait.”
Hiro punched Garius in the face, then turned on his heel and turned away.
“See you later.”
On the other side of the open door, Hiro’s figure disappeared into the darkness. The door closes. Immediately, several arrows were shot back by the iron wall, and the guards who had come to their senses rushed in.
“There’s no handle!”
“Put the tip of your sword in the crack and pry it open!”
“No! I can’t see any opening!”
“Nonsense. Then how the hell did they get it open?”
“What are you doing? Why don’t you chase them quickly!”
Fraus’s shout rang out. He was breathing hard, partly because he was angry but also because he had lost one of his arms. As the guards cleared the way, Fraus stood in front of the iron door.
“What the hell is this…?”
“It seems that no one without the precious jewel can open it.”
Garius said from behind him as he touched the door suspiciously.
“…I’ve never heard of something like this.”
“I suppose it’s something that can only be passed down from one generation of kings to the next.”
“Damn it, if we let Claudia go, our plan will fail! She even took the precious jewel with her! How much time did I spend to get to this day!”
Fraus kicked the door to let out his frustration. Garius stood behind him and whispered to him to quiet him down.
“It won’t be a failure.”
“How can you be so sure?”
“Calm down. If you get too worked up, you’ll bleed to death.”
“Why are you doing this in the first place?”
Fraus turned around in anger. It wasn’t Garius who was there, but a hooded demon. In his hand, he holds a magic bow, the Fail Note.
He’s one of the three demon generals, Baal Van Bitenia.
“When you have lost your way, all you have to do is make one. There is only one destination.”
Baal wears an unfathomable atmosphere, Fraus is pressurized, and his anger disappears.
Baal has never exposed his true face to anyone. He wears a hood all the time to hide himself from the public eye, and his people are divided in their assessment of him: either he is hideously ugly, or he has a face like the gods that dwell in the heavens. Not a few people considered it dangerous to have such an unknown person in the country’s center. Despite this, he has remained in the position of the three demon generals because his unparalleled wisdom has always been used for the prosperity of the country.
“The first thing to do is to explain to the people. The longer they wait, the more suspicious they will become.”
Fraus was no exception, and he had faith in Baal’s wisdom.
“What do you want me to say?”
“Before you do that, you should get your arm treated.”
Baal told the guards to fetch a doctor and instructed Garius to look for places where loopholes could be connected.
In the meantime, Fraus sat down on the throne and called for the royal guards. He instructed them to bring him wine and fruit and urged Baal to continue.
“So, what do you want me to explain to the people?”
“Right. The envoys of the Grantz Empire and several of the great nobles work together to assassinate the king and kidnap the princess. This will turn the public’s attention outward, at least for a little while.”
“…What about Claudia?”
“If we can catch her before she leaves the country, all the better. But if she escapes, she will most likely head to the Grantz Empire. That’s the only way left for her.”
“It would be bad if she escaped to the Grantz Empire. She has the precious jewel.”
“If that happens, the Grantz Empire will have a good reason to invade.”
“The people will call me the usurper! Many of the country’s nobles will turn on me!”
“We must take action before that happens.”
“Can we do that?”
Baal’s lips parted into a crescent shape, and he gave a slight nod.
“We should first attack the southern part of the country, which is an obstacle and then invade the Grantz Empire. We can then gather our troops on the border and demand the return of the princess, making a big show that the reasonable cause is ours.”
“You’re being ridiculous… fighting the Grantz Empire?”
“Oya, are you afraid?”
After taking a sip of wine, Fraus’s lips quivered at Baal’s somewhat provocative tone.
“Of course. I had no intention of taking up arms against them in the first place. There are 100,000 troops of the Fifth Imperial Army in the northern part of the Grantz Empire. I’ve heard that the total number of the standing army is 200,000. In contrast, we can only prepare 40,000. There’s no way we can win!”
“This is only true if they are concentrated in one place. It’s meaningless if they’re scattered. The northern side is more focused on the “Spirit Wall” in the west. It will take some time for the main force of the Fifth Imperial Army to rush over.”
“You think we can win?”
Although Fraus’ eyes were filled with anticipation, Baal spoke the reality without hesitation.
“It depends on our tactics, but first, we have to get rid of Haniel, who is in the way in the south. Otherwise, there will be no point in gathering our troops here.”
Fraus expressed his dissatisfaction because it was not the answer he wanted, but he gave a slight nod after a while.
“…It can’t be helped. I’ll leave it all to you.”
“――Leave it to me, but first, let’s eliminate all the envoys of the Grantz Empire and their guards.”
Baal snorted and twisted his mouth into a lecherous grin.