Here’s the chapter, enjoy~
Chapter 1 – The Beginning of Turbulence
The golden leaves falling on the streets are a reminder of the coming of autumn. The wind rustled the branches and leaves, and the leaves rubbed against each other as if muttering to themselves about the cold. In this place filled with the sounds of nature, there was a paved road.
The road was named after the five great noble families of the time, the Schein family, who established it in the early days of the Grantz Empire. Today, the road is managed by the government, and stations are set up at regular intervals. However, due to the fact that it was early in the morning, there were few people coming and going, and the number of stagecoaches in motion could be counted on one hand.
There were four horse-drawn carriages running at full speed through the quiet streets. A brown-skinned woman sat at the front of the carriage, skillfully controlling it as it continued to run at a remarkable speed.
“Wise brother! We almost arrived at the Great Imperial Capital!”
The wheels crushed the stone, and the carriage shook, the brown-skinned woman said.
Her name was Hugin ― a woman who used to be a mercenary in the Principality of Lichtine. In the Liberation Army, she had served as the assistant deputy. She is a strong woman who is now working as Hiro’s private soldier.
“I understand. Please continue to the Imperial Palace.”
Hiro said simply, his usual gentle face fading into a grim expression. He clutched his chest to calm his anxious mind and repeatedly took deep breaths.
(There is no point in panicking. First of all, I need to have an audience with the emperor and talk to him…)
The content is about Liz and Aura, whose safety is unknown in the Felzen region. A week has already passed since Driks informed him about it in the Levering Kingdom.
He should be able to hear more details. Maybe even be able to confirm their safety. But the calm part of himself was telling him that it would not work out that way.
“Her Highness Celia Estrella has the Five Emperors of the Spirit Sword, the Flame Emperor, and Brigadier General Aura has unparalleled intelligence. I’m sure they’ll both be fine.”
Driks, who was sitting next to him, tried to soothe Hiro’s anxiety. But it was no consolation. But he couldn’t deny what he thought of himself, and he was afraid that if he opened his mouth, he would shout in anger, so he just nodded.
“Wise brother, they’re checking our luggage.”
When he looked up in response to the voice, he saw that Hugin had opened the coachman’s window and was peeking into the carriage.
“All right. I’ll talk to them.”
Hiro sat up from the sofa and peeked out of the window on the side.
Currently, Hiro’s carriage is running on the bridge that connects to the Great Imperial Capital.
Walking there were villagers from the neighborhood, mercenaries with a noisy atmosphere, merchants from other countries smiling to make a profit, people with various purposes and occupations.
The destination where they are all heading is the huge main gate that connects to the Great Imperial Capital ― underneath the gate, soldiers are checking luggage, and it is necessary to show a pass.
“Stop the carriage there! Which country are you from?”
Several soldiers rushed up to Hiro’s carriage. The expression on their faces could be taken as one of increased caution, giving off a somber air that would have put most people off.
Hiro didn’t want to be disturbed by the people, so he didn’t display the flag that indicated his affiliation. This seemed to have the opposite effect on the soldiers, and Hiro’s carriage was quickly surrounded.
“Oh, there’s no need to be alarmed.”
When Hiro looked out of the window, the person who seemed to be the head of the luggage inspection darted his eyes.
“For the time being… people may recognize my face. At any rate, if I show you the letter with the emperor’s signature on it, will you let me through?”
He took out the letter with the emperor’s seal and held it between his fingers, fluttering it around.
“T-this is! Your Highness Hiro Schwartz!”
He opened his mouth to speak and then stood upright and saluted. It was so loud that the people around could hear it, and the place was instantly in an uproar.
This is dangerous. The soldiers around desperately trying to hold them back, but the waves of people are roaring around the carriage to get a glimpse of Hiro.
“…I’m in a bit of a hurry this time, so I’d rather head to the palace quietly if possible.”
Hiro pointed his index finger upward near the ceiling of the carriage. He gave the gesture to guess why he did not raise his crest flag.
The chief luggage inspector noticed this and looked around in blatant dismay.
“I-I apologize. We’ll get this under control right away!”
The chief luggage inspector’s forehead was covered with sweat as he made exaggerated hand gestures.
“Disperse, disperse! It was just someone else’s! There’s no way His Highness Hiro Schwartz is here! This was just a street performer’s carriage!”
It was a half-desperate cry, but not bad for a spur-of-the-moment move. Immediately, the people around seemed to be convinced and returned to the luggage inspection line, muttering complaints.
“Apologies for the inconvenience! The carriage there will be given priority!”
The chief luggage inspector said, and his subordinate broke into the crowd to clear the way for the carriage to run. As the carriage started up again, Hiro looked out the window in the back.
He recognized the chief luggage inspector bowing his head repeatedly ― his face pale to the point of feeling sorry for him as if he was expecting to be punished. He was only fulfilling his duties, and there was no way that Hiro would be offended by that…
(I’ll send a messenger later to give him a word of appreciation…)
As soon as the gate was opened, Hiro and the others were able to go through the main gate. From here on, it was the main street.
From the noblewomen in their fancy clothes, to the intellectuals flocking to the pottery brought in from other countries, to the chefs examining the various colored spices, to the children flocking to the smell of the fragrant meat from the stalls, even though it was early in the morning, the main street was full of activity. People were happily coming and going from the stalls.
It seemed as if they didn’t care about the strange events that had occurred in the Felzen region.
(I thought they were deliberately blocking the information, but…)
It’s probably because they simply haven’t received any information yet. If they had gotten the information, it would have been all over the news in the Great Imperial Capital.
Above all, it is impossible to put a door in someone’s mouth. Even if it were an event in a region beyond the west, it would be nearly impossible to shut down information in the capital, where many peddlers from other countries visit.
(It may not be now, but it will be tomorrow or the next day.)
The popularity of the “War Maiden” and the “Flame Princess” in the Great Imperial Capital is tremendous. What will be the reaction of the people when they find out that they have been defeated?
(The only ones who will benefit from this are the neighboring countries who are eyeing the Grantz Empire as an enemy, vigilantly waiting for it to weaken… It is dangerous to be too distracted by the Felzen region.)
Obviously, if the remnants of Felzen’s army are not suppressed as soon as possible, the west will collapse. If that happens, there will be no more talk of unifying the central continent.
(Now… what is the emperor thinking?)
As if to crush his anxiety, Hiro looked out the window and saw that the carriage had passed through the main street overlooked by the twelve great gods of Grantz and ran through Fountain Square.
If they continued north from here, they would arrive at the majestic and towering Imperial Palace of Venezine.
When Hiro called out his name, a man with scars all over his face straightened his posture. The man sitting in front of him was named Munin. He’s the older brother of Hugin, who is operating this carriage.
About three months ago, in the Principality of Lichtine, located to the south of the Grantz Empire, a rebel army was formed with the goal of freeing the slaves. Munin had been serving as second-in-command there, but when his superior, Ghada Meteor, was defeated by the Fourth Imperial Army, he too fell under Hiro’s command.
“While I have an audience with the emperor, can you go to the east district and find out what’s going on with the Golden Lion Knights?”
The vast grounds of the Imperial Palace of Venezine are divided into four districts, with the Rose Garden at the center. The east district houses the residences and training grounds of the elite “Golden Lion Knights” of the First Imperial Army.
The south district is a strict entrance with watchtowers and guardhouses, and the north is the imperial palace of Venezine, the center of the nation, and the last district to the west is lined with the mansions of powerful nobles.
“Understood. I’ll look into it thoroughly.”
Normally, Munin is aloof, but this time he nodded emphatically with a mysterious attitude.
“Next, there’s something I’d like you to do for me, Driks.”
“Yes, whatever you wish.”
“I want you to go and check on the First Prince Stobel. If you can’t, I’d like you to find out what he’s been up to lately, even if it’s something trivial.”
“I’ll leave you both to it then.”
Hiro opened the carriage door and stepped out onto the ground after receiving a colorful reply from both of them.
“Wise brother! What do you want me to do?”
Hugin was the one who called out to him. Hugin’s face clearly showed her confusion, whether she was unhappy that she was the only one not being ordered to do anything or whether she was worried.
“Hugin should stay in the carriage. You’ve been working as a coachman for a long time. You’re probably tired, so I want you to have a rest.”
“Yes. Resting is part of the job. Hugin will stay in the carriage until I come back.”
As Hiro tried to persuade Hugin, he could see Munin and Driks dispersing to their various locations to complete their assigned tasks out of the corner of his eye. Hugin looked at this with a grudge, but then she sighed in resignation and shifted her gaze to Hiro.
“U-understood. I’ll take your word for it if that’s what you want…”
Hugin nodded obediently, though he seemed to disapprove.
“Good. Well then, I’ll be going now.”
Hiro waved his hand behind his back to Hugin and walked towards the imperial palace.
When he went up the dustless marble staircase, he saw an opulent door. On either side of the door were the brave-looking gatekeepers. They bowed respectfully to Hiro, and both put their hands on the door.
“Your Highness, Hiro Schwartz. Prime Minister Gils is waiting for you.”