It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (22/63), enjoy~
“We’ll be launching an all-out attack soon. In the meantime, I want you to check the area around Pupchen-dono. That way, if he shows any strange behavior, we can deal with him immediately.”
As Rach bowed his head, he heard a commotion on his right.
“What is it? Is it a fight?”
“What are they thinking at a time like this…? I’ll have to punish them severely if they make too much noise.”
Skaaha and Rach wondered what was going on and walked in the direction of the cursing and taunting. There is a strange atmosphere in the air. The air blew wildly with confusion.
After walking between the tents where the soldiers slept, they eventually came to an open space where the soldiers ate. There was Pupchen, accompanied by his bodyguards. With exaggerated hand gestures, he was talking loudly to the Felzen remnant soldiers.
“Haha, is there anyone who wants to throw a stone? The rains have just brought us some mud, so we can throw it at her! It’s not every day you get an opportunity like this, so come forward!”
Behind Pupchen was a familiar cage ― no, there was no mistaking it.
“Let me throw it. My family is dead because of those Grantz Imperials!”
“Me too! Those Grantz soldiers killed my wife. I’ll give her the same pain!”
The house was burned. Sister was taken away. Father was falsely accused and tortured, etc. The soldiers began to surround the cage where the sixth princess, Liz, was being held. In the meantime, Pupchen seemed to have spotted Skaaha and rushed his horse over to her.
“How about you, Skaaha-dono? Wouldn’t you be able to cut off a finger with your strength?”
“What are you doing here, Pupchen-dono?”
“You don’t have to be so stern! I was taking the Sixth Princess around to improve the morale of my army. And I thought it would raise the morale of your army as well.”
He dismounted from the horse’s back and picked up a stone from the ground with a childlike smile.
“I think she’s getting used to the pain, but she doesn’t react well. Why don’t you use your power to make her scream?”
Pupchen held out his hand with a stone in his grasp, but Skaaha did not hide her anger and brushed it away.
“What kind of taste is it to make a spectacle of a prisoner of war?”
“What are you angry about? In fact, it has boosted the morale of your soldiers.”
“Shut up. Do you have no sense of chivalry?”
Skaaha walked past Pupchen and angrily walked over to the soldiers surrounding the cage.
“What are you doing? Are you still proud soldiers of Felzen, hurting your prisoners?”
Skaaha’s shout was enough to shake the atmosphere, and the soldiers began to move away from the cage as if they were being bounced. And when Skaaha looked at Liz in the cage, she was astonished.
The first thing she did was doubt her eyes. The cage was full of stones and bottle fragments of all sizes, and it was as if there were people in it. In the middle of the cage, buried and crouched, was probably the sixth princess, Liz.
“What a miserable sight…”
Rach, who came from behind, also involuntarily held his mouth and opened his eyes.
Liz’s military uniform was torn over a large area as if she had been dressed in rags. On her back, there was a large, painful laceration that made one want to turn away. It was not just one or two. There were probably scars all over her body.
And when Skaaha approached the cage, she was in a terrible state. She was crouched on the ground with her back curled up, and her cheeks, which were visible from this position, looked very thin as if she had not been fed.
In addition, her ragged breathing and the way her shoulders are bouncing up and down suggest that she may be suffering from a fever caused by an infected wound. An average person could have died. The treatment was so horrible that Skaaha could not continue to speak.
“Skaaha-dono, isn’t it amazing? Even with this, she is still alive. The owner of the Five Emperors of the Spirit Sword is quite a monster!”
“Why did you let this happen?”
“In order for the Spirit Sword’s blessings to disappear, it was necessary to break her strong mental power. But she would not yield to a half-hearted attack. I continued to torture her to the point where the blessing would not activate.”
Pupchen began to talk happily.
“And to my surprise, the protection of the Spirit Sword is still active. Even in this disgusting state, she still refuses to let me touch her, which is quite impressive.”
However, when her resistance was soon over, Pupchen gave an innocent laugh.
“The blessing of the Spirit Sword was more powerful than I imagined, but it seems that it can be very hard on her body at times. In fact, I tried sacrificing a soldier who was no longer useful, and the power of the protection was much weaker than before, to the point where it was no longer life-threatening.”
The vile smile on Pupchen’s face made Skaaha feel fear beyond disgust.
“I don’t… know what you’re talking about.”
“Really? I thought I explained it to you in a way that was easy to understand… Well, I expect that in two more days, the Spirit Sword will remove its blessing for her safety. After I’ve had my fun, you can do whatever you want. You can even cut off her head.”
“You… hold a grudge against the Sixth Princess Celia Estrella, to the extent?”
“Yes, I have a tremendous grudge. I am sure you feel the same way.”
“Hah, you know what I mean, a little girl who has been spoiled and brought up without any hardships is praised as a hero just because she was chosen to become the Spirit Sword holder. She has risen through the ranks without knowing the hardships of life, and yet she doesn’t understand the feelings of ordinary people. The most unforgivable thing is that she comes out on the battlefield with her own face, looking down from the top and spouting her high opinion. She just wields a sword that the first emperor used and takes all the credit for it! All she has done is embody the resentment of the world!”
“That is just backhanded resentment… Are you insane?”
“I am sane! Hyaahahaha! I’ll play with her until I’m bored!”
Pupchen continued to laugh maniacally as he turned his inferiority complex gaze towards Liz.
“But I suppose when I get bored, that’s the moment you’ve been waiting for! Surely you can see her face as she cries out!”
Pupchen said that the holder of the Five Emperors Spirit Sword was a monster.
(If that’s the case, then what the hell did he think with the person in front of him now?)
Skaaha was dumbfounded, wondering how a human being could be so disgusting.
Darkness swept over the four corners of the tent. A cold, chilly night had fallen. An unpleasant wind rang in the ears.
Recently, he had been having trouble sleeping. He couldn’t feel sleepy. His body must be refusing to sleep. And he knows why. He’s afraid that if he falls asleep, he’ll stop being himself.
“…Or maybe I just don’t want to have that dream.”
He smiled to himself and looked at the map spread out on the desk. Then, relying on the candlelight, Hiro took out ink and pen and wrote a letter.
As he finished writing, the sound of him putting down the pen echoed quietly in the darkness. While the ink dries, Hiro closes his eyes and begins to meditate.
As he breathed deeply and repeatedly to suppress the madness welling up from deep within him, he felt a faint presence and opened his eyes.
――The candles had been extinguished.
The darkness inside the tent was overwhelming, leaving only the sound of the wind blowing outside.
Then ― a strong wind blew, and the doorway of the tent shook violently. It made a faint opening, and all that came in was a ray of moonlight.
He suddenly noticed an object. Looking at the desk illuminated by the moonlight, Hiro slowly stroked his eye patch. The talisman that Altius had handed him had appeared on the desk without his knowledge.
The talisman was jet black as if it had been dipped in ink, with only a few white areas remaining.
The atmosphere was bizarre. According to Altius, it was a kind of spirit talisman, but he still didn’t know how to use it. He looked up various documents but found nothing that could be used as a reference.
When he regained the power of the “Heavenly Emperor” that day, Altius appeared to him in a dream and told him that a spirit resided in this. The fact that it appeared on its own like this, there must be some kind of will in it.
“I’m pretty sure it’s not a lucky charm, but I don’t think Altius would give me such a thing.”
He can’t do anything about it if he doesn’t know how to deal with it. But he has a vague sense of what it is that he is reacting to that is turning black.
When it turns all black, what kind of results it will produce ― there is no telling.
“Good grief, he gave me something completely troublesome.”
Thinking of his brother-in-law, Hiro smiled to himself and put the talisman in his pocket. And then, as if looking into the distance, he would only stare into the darkness.