It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (34/72), enjoy~
Outside, the sun was setting. Darkness was beginning to form on the reddish horizon. He could see a large city that had created a huge shadow on the plain at the edge of such a vision.
It was the Great Imperial Capital of Cladius, a city that had grown even larger than it was a thousand years ago.
“Oh, so that’s the Great Imperial Capital.”
As if to escape from Aura’s passionate speech, Skaaha shouted in surprise.
“You’ve never been to the Great Imperial Capital before?”
Liz was the one who reacted.
“Felzen and Grantz have been skirmishing since before I was born. I’ve never been to the area, partly because of the danger.”
“I see… Well, I’ll show you around when we get some free time.”
Liz smiled, and Skaaha laughed as she muttered something about asking for help. When Hiro looked over at Aura, who was sitting between the two of them, she had a question mark plastered on her face and was beginning to groan as she shook her body.
“Aura, what’s wrong?”
As Hiro was curious, he asked, and Aura looked around the room cautiously, as if in alarm.
“…Is she Skaaha?”
Hiro looked puzzled at the whispered words, which were almost drowned out by the sound of the wheels. The other passengers also rolled their eyes and looked at Aura.
What’s this reaction? Aura raised her eyebrows and gave him a quizzical look.
“Um, didn’t I introduce you?”
“…I haven’t heard.”
“Liz, have you told Aura about Skaaha?”
“I thought Hiro had explained it to her…”
Hiro assumed that Liz had explained it to Aura, but it seems that the other side thought the same way.
“So, Aura-dono has been looking at me strangely for a while now…”
She crossed her arms and nodded in agreement.
“Why didn’t you ask me sooner?”
It’s been days since they reached this point. Aura put her index finger to her chin.
“I thought I shouldn’t ask.”
Hiro pointed his hand at Skaaha, thinking that the girl was being reserved strangely.
“You know her well; she was the leader of the Felzen Remnant Army. For some reason, I’ve asked for her cooperation. I’d appreciate it if you could keep this between us.”
The only other people who knew about it were Ghada, Munin, and Hugin.
“I’m not asking you to get along.”
There may be mixed feelings between the two who faced each other on the battlefield, but they must bear with it.
“I have no grudge.”
Aura offered her hand to Skaaha without any hesitation and asked for a handshake.
This made Skaaha look surprised.
“It is true that many of my men have lost their lives in battle. But it’s the same for her.”
It’s more than that… Aura said, with shame in her eyes.
“The policy that Booze implemented has left the Felzen royal capital in a cruel state.”
Aura apologizes, saying it was her fault for not being able to do more. Perhaps she feels responsible. The direct cause of Felzen’s downfall was Aura’s victory in the first conquest of Felzen.
“No, it’s not your fault.”
A soft smile appeared on her face, and she tightened her grip on Aura’s hand.
“Best regards from now on. Your tactics were excellent. I hope you can teach me some of your strategies.”
“…Leave it to me.”
“Right. There’s just one thing I’d like to ask you.”
“What is it?”
“I want you to tell me why you were able to keep your watch on the walls every night during that battle.”
Hiro had heard that story too. In the battle against the Felzen remnants, Aura never neglected to be vigilant, night and day, strictly patrolling the walls to prevent the enemy from entering.
“I didn’t use any strategy.”
Aura said that they just put the armor of the fallen soldiers on the wooden sticks that looked like people. It’s just a pretense to stop the night attack of Skaaha.
“…I-I see, I have been deceived cleverly.”
As if to say she hadn’t noticed, Skaaha put her hand to her mouth and expressed her surprise. It’s no wonder they couldn’t see through the trick. The Felzen remnants were in a hurry.
Conceit creates gaps, anger narrows one’s vision, and impatience encourages failure.
(When one is in a hurry, one has two choices: be bold or be cautious. With the next battle in mind, Skaaha would have wanted to avoid damage.)
So, it was the latter. However, Hiro was surprised to see Aura so easily expose her hand. If Skaaha became an enemy again, the same strategy would not work. Aura noticed his gaze, and her eyes glittered with pride.
“I just have to find a better strategy than that.”
“I bet you do.”
Hiro shrugged his shoulders.
“Don’t let the Krone family get away with this! They’ve forgotten the pride of the Grantz!”
A shout that shook the window echoed through the room.
“Protect the Flame Princess! Protect the War Maiden!”
It wasn’t just one or two. Instead, the words that came from dozens of people overlapped and popped the air, and anger took over space with a stomp that made the carriage shake.
“Your Highness, Hiro!”
Hiro nodded at the coachman’s words and opened the window to look outside. While they were conversing, the carriage carrying Hiro and the others seemed to have reached the Great Imperial Capital.
Then, out of the corner of Hiro’s eye, he could see the central street crowded with angry people through the main open gate.
As Hiro squinted at the scene, a guard came riding up from the front.
“I am pleased to see you have arrived safely, Your Highness. However, it is currently very dangerous to enter from here, so if possible, we would like you to enter through the west gate…”
“Okay. But what are they screaming about?”
“It all started when the people in the Felzen region found out about the atrocities of the Krone family. From there, rumors began to circulate, and even false stories about… the “Flame Princess” and “War Maiden” being framed for their crimes spread, and the protests became more and more active.”
“I see. I understood well. We’ll enter through the west gate.”
“Ha, I apologize, but please do!”
The guard turned his horse’s head and started running towards the crowd. Hiro looked behind him, then closed the window and turned his attention to his fellow passengers.
“Rosa seems to have done a good job.”
“But isn’t it too effective? I think they’re on the verge of a riot…”
As Liz turned pale, Hiro spun his voice quite calmly.
“Yes, that’s true, but I think the protests will die down before they turn into a riot.”
Although it would depend on the punishment of Liz and Aura, it was as if it had been decided that their punishment would be lightened ― they would have to be grateful for Rosa’s work.
The Great Imperial Capital, where people from other countries come and go, is like a country’s symbol. Therefore, if the city’s people were to become a riot, they would want to avoid being underestimated by the surrounding countries.
This is why the emperor has no choice but to lighten the punishment for Liz and the others.
“Once you have the people on your side, you can then use your arguments to your advantage.”
When Hiro said that the game would start from there, Liz nodded curiously.
“Yeah, I’ll make it work.”
Liz didn’t seem overwhelmed. The last time she visited, she had a stomachache, but now she seemed calm and collected.
There is nothing scarier than a person who is prepared. If it turns out that the kitten is actually a lion, the nobles and lords will be surprised to see how they react to Liz’s change.
Hiro was looking forward to that time.