It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (33/68), enjoy~
(I think it’s time for the Krone family to leave the stage.)
And if that’s the case ― the First Prince Stobel won’t remain silent.
He will definitely stand in front of Hiro. If that happens, there is even a possibility that Hiro will come into conflict with the emperor. No matter where he starts, the situation may continue to be unpredictable.
(I’ve got a certain amount of cards in my hand… If I play them well, I have a chance of winning.)
Hiro went not to the infirmary where Liz was sleeping but to the outside of Fort Mitte.
The scars of war are still fresh. The bodies in the vicinity had been prioritized to avoid disease, but there were probably still many who had been buried under the burned-out tents.
This is the encampment left behind by the Felzen remnants.
Swords and spears were thrown on the ground, surrounded by the silence of ruins. Smoldering fires scorched the green leaves, creating an unpleasant smell that mixed with the air.
A large number of crows were wandering around in search of food, probably attracted by the faint smell of blood mixed in there.
Eventually, Hiro stopped at a place. It was a tent that was larger than the tents abandoned around it.
If he had to say where it was, it was in the center of the encampment ― the commander’s tent. Hiro stepped inside without hesitation.
“As I thought, you’re here.”
He stepped inside the large space at the back of the tent, where a woman was sitting with both knees together.
“It’s you, huh…”
She turned around and it was Haran Skaaha de Felzen.
“I have just been informed that Rach has captured Booze.”
Skaaha puts her hands on the ground and bows her head.
“I thank you for keeping your promise.”
“As I told Rach-san, you don’t need to thank me because I haven’t fulfilled my promise yet.”
“Even if that were the case, I would not have been able to take Booze into my custody. My gratitude will never end.”
Thinking of him as a courteous man, Skaaha turned her back on Hiro. There were a dozen boxes in front of her ― Hiro was about to open his mouth to wonder what they were.
But Skaaha, noticing this, took the initiative.
“These contain the heads of my family members.”
She said that some of them were not intact, but they were still the remains of her beloved family members. Turning to face the box again, Skaaha put her hands together and began to pray, tears streaming down her face.
It was the “poem” that the first Princess Shrine Maiden had once offered to the Spirit King.
It is a poem that appealed to the Spirit King with tears, saying that she could not save the people tormented by the tyranny of the demon race, nor heal the wounded in a world of constant strife, and that the fires of war were only spreading, and she was powerless to do anything about it.
After she had finished her prayer, Hiro asked her why she had kept Liz alive.
“You’re asking me that again… I’ve told you that before.”
“But that leaves me with an unnatural point.”
“At the time, I was convinced by my own imagination and assumptions, but now that I think about it again, there’s no need to put her on ice.”
“I told you, I have no taste for killing women and children.”
“That’s it. If you believe that, then you didn’t mean to kill Liz in the first place. If that’s the case, then I wondered why you put her on ice. You can’t see the situation clearly, and you can’t provoke the soldiers’ anger holed up in the building. I thought it would be more effective to expose her injured and exhausted.”
And when Hiro quickly explained, Skaaha turned around with her shoulders slumped as if she had given up.
“To put it simply, we were cornered at that time. However, we have the trump card, the sixth princess. I needed to put her on ice to prevent the soldiers who noticed it from going out of control.”
In other words, she was acting to protect Liz. With so many people holding a grudge against Liz, it was impossible to keep her safe. Above all, as a woman, she might not have wanted her to suffer such humiliation.
“Besides, I planned to let her go as soon as possible.”
“What do you mean?”
“I wanted to use her to demand from the Grantz Empire the custody of the First Prince of Stobel and an apology from the emperor.”
The plan was to capture Booze, who had escaped to Fort Mitte, secure the custody of Aura and the Third Prince Blutar, and demand that they withdraw from Felzen on condition that they hand them over.
However, the emperor did not send any reply, let alone an apology.
“I’ve heard that Lord Puppchen has set up his own negotiations with the Third Prince Blutar.”
Hiro put his hand on his chin and kept his eyes down in thought. When he had an audience with the emperor, the emperor said that the remnants of the Felzen army had not made any demands.
What was the reason for his silence? Perhaps because he expected that Hiro would advise him to accept their demands. If he refused, it would have created a clear rift between Hiro and him.
The only way to avoid this would be to obey the demand, but there was no way the emperor would apologize.
(If I had to think of another reason, it would be…)
It is unlikely that he felt pity for Skaaha and was afraid to let her live or that he wanted to prevent the Five Emperors of the Spirit Sword “Ice Emperor” from becoming Hiro’s pawn. That’s why he didn’t tell Hiro. He withheld as much information about her as possible so that Hiro would not hesitate to kill her.
That being the case, he must have been aware of Liz’s situation. He must have been working with General Bakish to seal off all the information.
(It looks like he’s cooperating, but he’s actually manipulating me behind the scenes… what a cunning man.)
Emperor Greyheit is much stronger and more cunning than expected and maybe the most troublesome enemy of all.
Hiro was brought back to reality when a voice called out to him. In front of him was the figure of Skaaha, kneeling on one knee. She turned her gaze to Hiro with a devout look on her face.
“I shall now be your spear.”
She summoned the Ice Emperor, placed the hilt in her hands, and raised it above her head.
“I am the spear that follows you. I am the spear that will pierce the heart of every enemy. I will thrust this spear into the hearts of all those who have malicious intent against you.”
The oath to serve as vassal proved with the utmost courtesy.
Seeing her determination, Hiro summoned the Heavenly Emperor.
“This is only the beginning, and I am still far from my goal, but I will definitely fulfill my promise.”
Contracts, pacts, constraints, countless words can be used. But this oath was made by the spirits of both parties.
A dazzling light shone from both of their weapons. The air is heavy because the spirits are clashing with each other to establish a hierarchy.
“Will you give me what I want?”
“I will certainly give you what you want.”
“Will you be true to your word to me?”
“I will certainly fulfill my promise.”
“Then, from now on, all that I am shall be yours.”
An oath ― a promise of master and servant. It was a curse that was engraved on Skaaha’s body.
After their oaths were done, they looked out at the burning tent.
“I’ll definitely avenge them…”
As her eyes reflected the scene of the tent burning down with a loud noise, Skaaha muttered a few words. Although he sensed the deep sadness in her words, Hiro had no intention of offering words of comfort.
She would continue to move forward without him saying anything. She would not stop until she got her revenge.
However, Hiro was thinking about the future. If she got her revenge, he wanted her to find her own path and pursue it.
(Until then, I will guide her. I believe that she and Liz will have a good relationship.)
It will surely be a good stimulus for both of them to improve each other as the holders of the Five Emperors of the Spirit Sword.
“…Now that I have nothing left to regret. For now, let’s say goodbye to the past.”
Skaaha said with her back to the burning tent.
“Then let’s go back to Fort Mitte.”
As Hiro began to walk, Skaaha solemnly followed behind him. Her identity is known to many people. So she hid her face with her hood.
She must have lived in inconvenience for a while. Hiro apologizes for that, but she will have to put up with it.
(But that’s only for a little while.)
From now on, the eyes that have been looking outward will turn inward. He will have to decide where to start to break it down, and since any flashy move might be detected, he will have to stay quiet on the surface.
However, in order to stop them from breathing, he is planning to hunt them down slowly.
(First, let’s get Liz back on track…)
And then, just before Fort Mitte, Hiro stopped in his tracks. He felt he heard a familiar, very warm voice. But when he looked around, he could only see soldiers at work, and he thought he was hallucinating.
“Haha… I’m really glad.”
Hiro looked up and saw a girl he hadn’t seen in a long time.
The beautiful melody that he had been looking forward to more than anything else was carried by the wind and gently caressed his ears. Although her injuries are not fully healed, she is climbing the walls with a dangerous gait.
Every once in a while, her face would contort, probably because her wounds hurt. Nevertheless, Liz appealed to Hiro with exaggerated movements as if to assert to him that she was safe.
Hiro could only laugh dryly in amazement. Skaaha, next to him, rolled her eyes in surprise.
The red-haired girl calls out his name over and over again ― and next to her, the silver-haired girl is also in a panic.
“Hmm, I see; she’s really an energetic girl.”
“I’m sure you’ll get along.”
Hiro said, and Skaaha nodded vigorously.
“I know that. I’ve only known her a short time, but… she has already touched my heart.”
“Well, then, let’s go before she falls from the walls.”
Hiro quieted his fluttering heart and walked lightly to the moment he had been waiting for.