It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (30/65), enjoy~
Chapter 5 – The Heavenly Emperor And The Ice Emperor
November 22, 1023rd year of the Imperial Calendar.
Aura, holed up in Fort Mitte, was faced with a difficult decision. She’s in a small tower on the breastwork above the main gate.
“This fort will fall today.”
In the midst of the heavy tension, Aura’s brief announcement was met with a sigh of regret from the staff. But there was no one to complain.
It was only because of Aura that they had been able to endure to this point.
“Then what should we do? It’s a shame for a Grantz soldier to sit around and wait for death.”
One of the staff members said, and an older staff member made a bitter face.
“You mean to say that we should be prepared to fight to the death?”
The soldiers who had fought so hard for so long were indeed exhausted. There is no one who is not injured. The food supply is almost depleted, and there is no way to replenish it, nor is there any hope of rescue. With the soldiers’ strength running low, it was probably not a good idea to hunker down. However, even if they launched a desperate attack, they would not be able to inflict much damage on the enemy army.
“We have no choice but to fight on. As a Grantz people, we must fight to honor our ancestors.”
“Even if it means dying in vain?”
“It will not be in vain. We shall surely be called to the service of the Twelve Great Gods.”
“Surely, the Third Prince Blutar will rescue us. We must not give up too soon.”
The staff members were divided into two groups: those who wanted to continue the siege, relying on a little hope, and those who wanted to break the siege and fight like soldiers. It was left to a girl named Aura to decide which one to choose.
“I’m going to go outside for a while to think about it.”
Aura looked down from the breastworks, wondering what she should do…
She can see the encampment of the Felzen remnants that surround Fort Mitte. Then as she turned her gaze back, she caught sight of a spot one cell (three kilometers) away from the main gate.
A woman had been iced and was exposed to the sun. It was someone Aura knew well.
Aura clenched her fists. The fact that she was powerless to help her made her angry. She didn’t know by what means they had created such a scene.
However, the Felzen remnants have advised her to surrender if she does not want to end up like Liz. It was only in the last two days that they started talking about it.
“Something is happening. But what’s it about?”
The impatience of the Felzen remnant army was palpable.
But in a situation where information was cut off and being surrounded to the point where not a single rat could escape even if they tried to release a spy, it was impossible to find out the enemy’s true intentions.
“…I wish I could help her at least.”
She looked at the frozen Liz again. She doesn’t know if she’s alive or dead, but as a servant of the Grantz imperial family, it makes her angry to be subjected to such a spectacle.
“…I will not be forgiven.”
It’s a result of her own blunder.
The black-haired, black-eyed boy will never forgive her for what she did. Aura chewed her lips regretfully as if to warn herself why this had happened.
“At first, things were going well.”
In an attempt to round up the Felzen remnants hiding in the vicinity, Aura fled to Fort Mitte under the pretense of being in a tight spot. Then, when the Felzen remnants surrounded them, those who realized the opportunity came out one after another and flooded into Fort Mitte.
Judging from the fact that the number of the army swelled to over 30,000, the operation must have been largely successful.
It was supposed to be that Liz, who had received a new order from the emperor, would fight with Aura to pinch off the Felzen remnants and seize victory and that the Third Prince Blutar would sweep away the fleeing Felzen remnants, but she could not read the movements of the Grand Duchy of Dral.
This is why Liz was captured by the enemy, which was because of her blunder. She had to admit that she hadn’t read the situation very well. She had neglected the most important information.
It was an irreversible mistake that she couldn’t even begin to regret.
She found her thoughts muddled. She could not see any light, and the tactics she had drawn in her mind were foggy and dull. She was convinced that no matter what she did, it would be futile. In other words, she was afraid of failure.
Since there was no end in sight, it was not an easy decision to make. The next move Aura makes will determine whether they would survive or be wiped out.
“I can’t let their lives be in vain.”
Aura looked at the large number of soldiers sitting on the walls. The only reason they were able to endure until this day was because they believed in Aura and fought for her.
In the beginning, there were more than five thousand soldiers, but now there were less than a thousand. Everyone was tormented by their wounds, unable to even sleep due to the intense pain, and some even became emotionally unstable from fear.
As she was thinking about what to do… she caught sight of a figure out of the corner of her eye. He was a large, muscular man, but he looked incredibly small as he looked down from the breastwork at the world below.
His gray beard rippled in the wind as he stared at the frozen Liz.
Aura rushed over to him.
“…Lord Tris. What are you doing?”
“…Aura-dono, huh? I was watching the princess.”
He had never spoken much, but when they had met before in the Berg Fortress, he was more of an old soldier bursting with life. But now, he was as lifeless as a dead man.
“Go back to the infirmary. You’re not fit enough to walk.”
“No, it’s all right. I couldn’t even save the princess… and put her through that.”
In the battle in which Liz was captured, Tris safely withdrew his unit and returned on foot to launch a single-man assault on the Grand Duchy of Dral to recapture the captured Liz.
The old soldier must have found a place to die in that battle. But there was a reason why he could not.
The reason why the old soldier had refused to die that day and had taken refuge in Fort Mitte was because of the presence of the white wolf.
“If it’s Cerberus-dono, he’s still unconscious.”
Aura asked, and Tris clenched his fists and gnashed his teeth.
Aura remembers that day very well. Tris came running to Fort Mitte with a white wolf in his arms, looking desperate.
Even though he himself was seriously injured, he asked Aura to prioritize treating the white wolf without considering his own safety. There, he, too, lost consciousness. It was only the other day that he woke up.
“…I knew you’d charge in when you woke up.”
“As expected, I cannot leave Cerberus-dono behind.”
Slapping the back of his head, Tris smiled in annoyance.
“The princess would be furious with me if I did.”
“Cerberus is Liz’s favorite pet animal?”
“The two of them have known each other longer than I can remember.”
“So, until Cerberus-dono wakes up…”
When she looked up at Tris’s face, she saw that he was bleeding from the corner of his mouth.
With blood running through his eyes, he is looking at the frozen Liz with a devilish expression. He looked as if he was going to throw himself out of there at any moment.
“You should go back to the infirmary.”
Aura tapped Tris on the waist with all her energy. Tris’s anger dissipated, and she looked at Aura questioningly.
“What are you doing to an injured man…?”
“Cerberus, he might wake up. You’d better get back to the infirmary.”
Aura’s eyes softened, and she pointed to the stairs, the excess sleeves of her military uniform fluttering in the wind.
“Liz will be very upset if you don’t get better.”
As expected, when Liz’s name is mentioned, Tris has no choice but to obey and nodded obediently.
“Well then, I’ll take your word for it and have a rest.”
Tris smiled and quietly descended the stairs leading to the infirmary.
Aura, alone in the dusk, looked at the encampment of the Felzen remnants spread out on the ground.
“Attack, crush, pulverize, destroy, annihilate.”
She tried to put it into words, but none of them seemed to fit. Should they attack and disperse or give up and sit down and die? She didn’t know which way was right.
Suddenly, she saw the encampment of the Felzen remnants buzzing. Aura, who had climbed up on the breastwork, scrutinized the situation with her eyes. Then, a female knight approached the main gate with a leisurely gait.
“Attention Trea Luzandi Aura von Bunadhara of the Great Grantz Empire!”
There was a loud voice that shook Aura’s eardrums. Aura climbed down from the breastwork to hide herself, and looked down through the gap.
A beautiful and noble female knight is looking around Fort Mitte.
One of Aura’s miscalculations ― a survivor of the Felzen royal family. It’s Haran Skaaha de Felzen.
“This will be your last notice! Surrender, lest your men die in vain!”
They didn’t think she was still alive. She had heard that the entire family had been beheaded by the Emperor, or rather by the First Prince Stobel.
“If you refuse to do so, then we will launch an all-out attack! What is your reply?”
Skaaha thrust her blue spear into the ground. A silence fell. No one spoke out. Making a disappointed expression, Skaaha’s shoulders dropped heavily.
“Then I’ll notify the Grantz Army.”
With the setting sun about to set and the afterglow all around her, Skaaha directed her words sincerely.
“If you hand over the custody of Trea Luzandi Aura von Bunadhara and Booze von Krone, I will make sure that the soldiers can step on the soil of their homeland without being taken prisoner.”
In other words, she was saying that she would let them go. Aura was surprised by this. She had thought that none of them would be allowed to return alive.
“I will give you some time. All you have to do is give us those two people. I want you to think it over!”
Aura’s mind wavered. If only she surrendered, she would be able to send the injured back home as well. They can receive proper treatment. She might even be able to save those who were wandering between life and death.
But Booze von Krone, who is hiding in the underground warehouse, will stubbornly refuse.
Aura, who had decided that she had no choice but to restrain him and forcibly drag him out, quietly closed her eyes, made up her mind, and left the walls.
When Aura returned to the small tower, she was greeted by the aides who had followed her this far. Among them was Lord Spitz, who was covered in bandages.
Their faces were gloomy. Perhaps they realized their defeat.
“I will surrender.”