Sponsored chapter by Patreon, enjoy~
“…I understand. But there is still time for you to think about it.”
“Yes. But I’ve decided not to hesitate anymore.”
Her determination was unshakeable. Hiro could sense that.
“I see… Then, I’m looking forward to that time.”
Hiro muttered and looked at the three of them again, trying not to forget the scene.
Liz is about to start walking away by herself. Aura seems to have found a new path after the battle in Felzen, and Skaaha dreams of rebuilding Felzen after achieving her revenge. She may be consumed by anger and hatred at the moment, but once she has achieved her goal, she will have time to think.
(These girls’ future… is not something to worry about, I see.)
Even if Hiro is no longer with them, they will surely believe in their own path and go forward.
When a person makes up their mind, they will take a great leap forward. They grow at an astonishing rate. It was the same for Hiro, and it was the same for Altius.
He swam around freely like a fish in water, and that led to the Grantz Empire.
And then, when the girls have grown up, there will be no more use for Hiro.
(And then it was time to move on.)
As far as he can predict, there is no doubt that the Grantz Empire will be in trouble. There is even a possibility that it will cause a war involving the surrounding countries.
(For a thousand years, the Grantz Empire has reigned as the ruler of the central continent. But now it is an old lion. Its power is not as strong as it once was.)
Although its fangs are still intact, its eyes are clouded, its internal organs are rotting, and its bones become brittle.
Everything that has a form will eventually crumble.
The weak will be slaughtered by the strong, and the natural order of things cannot be changed, even in the midst of prosperity. In other words, when the crisis of existence arises, that’s when it will be his turn.
(I wonder if Altius was referring to this…)
When he returned to this world, Altius’ words that he had met in his dream passed through his mind.
“I see… a “turning point” will come in that era.”
But after that, he didn’t reply to Hiro’s words but told him to be free and have fun, saying whatever he wanted. At the end of the sentence, his voice trailed off, and he couldn’t be heard.
(What the hell do you want me to do?)
Hiro slapped himself on the chest as if to crush his anxiety. The card Altius had given him had already disappeared. He had predicted that it would have disappeared when he saw Liz injured during the battle with the Felzen remnants and forgot himself.
But strangely enough, there was no change in any part of his body.
No ― the change was coming. It was steadily beginning to eat away at Hiro’s body.
(Maybe this is the punishment I’ve been sentenced to.)
Hiro smiled self-mockingly and quickly shook his head to erase the anxiety from his mind.
For now, he had to deal with the matter at hand without thinking about anything else. After that, he could think about himself.
“First, I think I’ll try to seize power from the Krone family in an audience with the emperor.”
Hiro decided to give Liz a push. He assured her that he had no hesitation in prioritizing others… so that she would not become deflated. However, he was sure that there was still some hesitation in the corner of her head because she was kind. She would have to clear her mind of it.
“While the noble lords are in a panic, I intend to have her accumulate the power of the eastern nobles.”
From here on, he would tell Rosa to switch from Hiro to Liz.
But he won’t tell Liz about it now. Not because Aura belongs to the western nobility, and of course not for the trivial reason that Skaaha is present. The only reason is to avoid giving Liz unnecessary confusion by making her strongly aware of it.
“And then I’m going to make the central nobility even more suspicious and plot to turn them over to the eastern nobility. And if the First Prince Stobel drops out of the struggle for the throne, the Krone family will fall.”
Because of Aura, he avoided making a clear statement to the western nobility… but he believes that they are no match for the eastern nobility now. Because the battle in Felzen has weakened the western nobility, unfortunately for the Third Prince Blutar, he too will have to give up his right to the throne. The rest of the enemies are the northern nobility who support the Second Prince Selene and the southern nobility who don’t support anyone. There’s no one eerier than those who are still sitting idly by. There is even a possibility that they will try to take advantage of the situation. Above all, it would be troublesome if they were to collude with them.
But from now on, Rosa and the rest of the east will have to deal with the center and the west. It would be terrible to make them deal with the north and south as well.
“I’m wondering if I should rely on Kiork-san.”
He is certainly increasing his status in the south. But that doesn’t mean that he can compete with the five major noble families, the Muzuk family, who control the southern nobility.
“My uncle is indeed excellent. I do not doubt his ability, but I’m pretty sure he can’t do it alone.”
As Liz said, Kiork is not powerful enough, and if he fails, he could lose his status as margrave of the Grinda territory. Although he wanted more help, he had been involved in so many wars that he hadn’t been able to do much in the way of politics. However, there is no time left to look for a collaborator or someone he can trust.
(If I take my time here, I’ll be stabbed in the back.)
That’s what the other countries are doing ― if they think that Hiro’s power has weakened, those who are cooperating with him will turn into his enemies.
(Maybe this is where one person’s power is limited.)
Of course, Rosa and Kiork are doing their best, but they are the only non-military collaborators in the country, and it is impossible to take on all of them. If it had been 1,000 years ago, he would have been able to interfere in politics, but now he doesn’t have the power that the heroic king of the twin blacks had back then. And then, Aura raised her hand in front of Hiro’s eyes.
“…I have one reassuring ally.”
Aura nodded her head in agreement with Hiro’s words.
“In the far east, there is a small country that has tremendous influence.”
With those words alone, Hiro could guess the answer.
At the eastern edge of the central continent, there is the small country of Baum. There is a mausoleum dedicated to the Spirit King, and the influence of the priestess, The Princess Shrine Maiden, extends to the surrounding countries. It is so immense that even the Grantz Empire cannot ignore it.
If they could use her power, they would be able to get one step ahead of any of the opposing nobles.
It is true that the Princess Shrine Maiden ― the small country of Baum ― will fully cooperate with Hiro.
(But… I’d rather not do that. That country can’t withstand war.)
It has influence, but because it has been under the protection of the Grantz Empire for so many years, it has no military power whatsoever. If he asks for cooperation in a situation where all sides may become enemies in the future, the small country of Baum, caught in the crossfire of war, will disappear from the map in the blink of an eye.
“It’s not a bad idea, but… it’s something that needs to be judged carefully.”
Still, it’s always a good idea to have insurance. He thought to himself, “I’ll have to write a letter asking for her support at least.” Aura, who glanced at the window, called out again to Hiro as he decided.
“We’re about to arrive at the Great Imperial Capital.”
“We’re earlier than expected. But the audience is tomorrow, right?”
Liz’s words interrupted the conversation. Hiro nodded in affirmation.
“We’re going to stay at Rosa’s mansion today. I think she’ll be waiting for us since I sent out a message earlier.”
Rosa has already arrived at the Great Imperial Capital. She has already arrived in the capital, having received word that Liz had been captured and was stationed in the capital, leading her troops so that they could move at any time.
“What about Aura, by the way?”
Hiro suddenly said something that caught his curiosity.
“I will stay at Lady Kelheit’s mansion too.”
“Isn’t that a bad idea?”
Aura’s faction ― the western nobility ― might say something. There is a possibility that her life will be in danger. In addition, the Bunadhara family belongs to the West. Wouldn’t it cause trouble for her relatives as well? However, Aura shook her head and denied it.
“My family intends to be part of Liz’s faction.”
“That’s… also new to me. Do you mind if I ask why?”
Aura nodded cutely at Hiro’s words.
“The west has been torn to shreds.”
Due to the repeated battles in Felzen, the western nobility has no more funds to spare, and the central nobility has been interfering with them, causing them to become distrustful. So they’re worried that Aura’s latest blunder will be blamed on the west as well.
“There’s also a reason why I’m working with Hiro.”
Aura sadly lowered her eyes and turned them to him, which had an apologetic color in them.
“The western nobles would have abandoned me.”
That’s why her father, who was also the head of the Bunadhara family, had told her to go under Hiro’s protection for her own safety. He might have decided that she would not be in danger if she came under Hiro’s protection.
Aura straightened her back and bowed her head.
“I’m sorry for not telling you.”
It was a result of her own blunder. Aura would have been willing to accept any punishment. That’s why she felt bad about dragging Hiro and the others into this mess.
“You don’t have to worry about it.”
“That’s right. There’s no need for Aura to apologize!”
As if to comfort Aura, Liz hugged her vigorously and began to pat her head. Aura was left to her own devices, although she looked unhappy because of her weakness.
Hiro watched the exchange between the two with a smile on his face, but suddenly a shadow fell on his face, and he muttered to himself.
“But still… The west has lost its luxury to that extent?”
Aura, who is equipped with unparalleled intelligence, is cut down. It’s also a way of saying that they can’t protect her. They may have their hands full with their own, but even so, it seems that they have made the wrong choice.
“Things should be okay for a while.”
But… Aura said, turning her face down.
“Several powerful nobles will be leaving the Third Prince Blutar’s camp in the coming days.”
“If that’s the case, the western nobility will be divided… or the leading noble will be replaced.”
The leading noble house in the west is currently the Munster family, the family of the Third Prince Blutar.
“The ample funds that kept the western nobles chain together have run out.”
The end of the money is the end of the relationship. It’s the same in every world. However, Aura must feel no small amount of debt to the Third Prince Blutar.
Can she really decide to fight him when they become enemies…? Hiro thinks that this is what worries him. She is very loyal. There must be some hesitation somewhere in her heart.
Today’s enemy is tomorrow’s friend and vice versa. This is what war is all about… but it can’t be helped, Hiro sighed.
“…This is getting more and more unpredictable.”
The Krone family, the leading central nobility, has lost the trust of the emperor. The Munster family, the leading western nobility, is also on the verge of being abandoned by the emperor. Is this just a coincidence, or is someone else’s plan at work? If so, how far is that person taking it?
The only thing he can think of is that it could be a southern or northern nobleman. Of course, it could also be Rosa’s eastern nobles, but she can’t be expected to act without telling Hiro.
(The situation on the board is starting to get rough from what I overlooked.)
However, when he thought about it again, he realized that his actions could be aiding that person. Henceforth, he will have to act with caution.
Besides, there is an unsettling atmosphere in the central continent, including the surrounding countries.
Moreover, it seemed as if only the Grantz Empire was dealing with the situation.
(Everyone is working for their own interests. If they see that they are losing money, they will be cut off.)
Even the people with whom Hiro has established a cooperative relationship are in a situation where they may turn their back on him at any moment.
Besides, there are still a few countries in the Central Continent that are known as major powers. They are probably living peacefully and steadily building up their armies. It’s a shame that there is no information about the countries in the distant west, but what is certain is that they are vigilantly targeting the Grantz Empire.
If they continue to wage war, the Grantz Empire will only become exhausted, and the country left behind by Hiro’s friends will be tarnished and crumbled by foolish people. That is something he cannot allow to happen. Their “history” must be left to future generations.
(But leaving it behind is not an easy task.)
The path to the collapse of the Grantz Empire has already been laid out. If this is a part of someone’s plan, then he needs to take action as soon as possible, but just as he thought earlier, Hiro’s power alone is not enough to reach that point. He didn’t want to be on the back foot, but he was already in a situation where he couldn’t make the first move.
(But that’s why it’s interesting. If everything went the way I wanted, it would be boring.)
He had the cards in his hand. He told himself that he would be fine. If his opponent was one move ahead, he just had to be two moves ahead of his opponent.
(I will definitely achieve my goal. No one will stand in my way.)
Just let them cut as many thin layers of skin as they want. Then, all he had to do was cut off the bone.
In front of Hiro, who was quietly deepening his smile, Liz was happy that Aura joined the curtain.
“I don’t know anything about military strategy. If you have any tactical books that you think I should read, please let me know.”
Aura’s face is expressionless, but she seems to be happy.
“By the way, here is the best recommendation.”
Aura held out the “Black Book” out of nowhere. Hiro’s cheek twitches. Liz also had a slightly uncomfortable expression on her face.
But only Skaaha was looking at it with interest.
“Hou, the black book, huh… It’s very rare, and I heard that it’s not available anymore.”
Aura nodded vigorously with shining eyes when Skaaha paid attention to her.
“Yes, it’s a book about the life of the God of War up until he got the throne. But that’s not all; it also contains things that were never mentioned in the other books, such as the tactics he used to play the enemy’s armies and the strategies he used to feign defeat in order to ensure victory in the end. In other words, the knowledge of the God of War is packed into this one book. But that’s not all. It also explains how he became the second emperor and fills in the gaps in his life that are not mentioned in the literature. That alone is worth reading and will make you feel as if you have lived a lifetime. If you don’t read it, you will regret being born.”
“Umm… I’ll read it later too.”
Aura suddenly began to speak more eloquently, and Skaaha was taken aback.
“You should definitely read it. It’s a book that will make you love the second emperor. You should read it as soon as possible; you will feel glad to have been born in this world. It’s that addictive. You don’t need to eat food. This one book will feed you for two weeks.”
As if to say it’s been proven, Aura puts her heart on the line. Aura’s face showed a momentary expression of dismay, but she quickly hid it and feigned admiration.
“I-is that so…? That’s amazing.”
“Read it right now. And let me know what you think.”
“N-now? N-no, I would rather not do that.”
“W-why, you ask, I can’t answer that…”
Hiro smiled at the sight of Aura’s eyes, which had even begun to take on the cold air, and at the sight of the panic-stricken Skaaha. Liz was looking out the window as if she did not want to get involved.
(Even so, the “blank period.” That was after I returned to Earth.)
Incidentally, Hiro had also read that part of the book. It was written in detail as if he had seen it up close. There was no sense of “falsehood” in it.
Hiro was convinced that the Black Book had been written by the person who had been involved.
Then the question arises.
How did it get out into the world when the person who wrote it had died a long time ago?
“Who is the author? It seems that only the title is written in the book.”
Skaaha tilted her head curiously at the title on the back of the Black Book.
“I don’t know about that either.”
Aura shook her head regretfully and held out the book to Skaaha.
“But I want you to read it.”
Skaaha looked at Hiro as if asking for help. Hiro threw his guilt-filled eyes out the window to escape.
(I only know one person. This is the work of someone who wanted to make me “emperor” until the end.)