Here’s the prologue and c1part1, enjoy~
The floor was covered with a huge number of dead bodies. Wounded corpses were lying on the floor. Burned corpses were lying on the floor. Mutilated corpses were lying on the floor.
All of them were so damaged that it was obvious at a glance that they had lost their breath.
This place is filled with blood that cannot be stopped. The flowers of death were blooming so brightly that they dyed the world red. The ceiling collapsed with a loud crash, sending up a cloud of dust and turning the red world gray.
The throne room, the symbol of prosperity, was about to collapse.
In a space filled with a strange smell, the air was dominated by the stench of decay, and the pervasive smell was that of death.
In the midst of such a hellish space, there is a woman buried in the rubble.
Her blue-green hair, which had lost its luster due to the dust, was dyed bright red, and fresh blood was dripping from the edge of her mouth. It was hard to tell if she was alive or dead.
A little farther away, a red-haired girl was leaning against a pillar and collapsed. Her whole body was covered with painful wounds. The only thing that could be understood was that she had been in a fierce battle.
However, it was impossible to grasp what had happened to her.
At the far end of the room, on the glittering throne that symbolizes this country, there was a headless corpse. The corpse, clad in a feathered robe of gold and silver threads, belonged to the emperor who reigned at the top of the land.
The lost head of the emperor lay at the feet of a man.
“…..Don’t you know that one after the other, those worthless people, are useless?”
The man spitting out vindictive words while holding his face ― he was the man who was called the First Prince.
In front of him, a gentle-looking twin-black boy is standing leisurely.
“I’ll kill you.”
――A ferocious smile appeared on his face.
Chapter 1 – The Growth of The Flame Princess
The season is winter ― December 9th, 1023rd year of the Imperial Calendar.
The plains are swirling with a cold wind. The grass and flowers were withering, and the golden leaves that colored the trees were dancing on the road as the strong winds scattered them.
One of the main roads of the Great Empire of Grantz, the Grand Highway of Schein ― villagers were walking there with their cattle. Another child was happily waving a branch as if it were a sword. A mother connected her hands together and smiled as she watched the scene.
It was a typical scenery, a typical day, a typical happy family scene that could be seen anywhere.
However, the air is filled with an unsettling tone that is out of place ― a bass that resonates in the pit of the stomach and shakes the body as it travels from the ground to the feet.
What appeared in front of the villagers was an army clad in heavy iron.
At the front of the army, bathed in the light of the sun swimming in the offshore sky, fluttering in the wind was the black dragon’s crest flag.
The villagers rolled their eyes as the army appeared and bowed their heads in panic as they moved to the side of the road. There were three thousand of them marching in front of them. It was an army led by “One-Eyed Dragon,” the “God of War” descendant. In addition, there are other flags that prove their existence, such as a red flag with a lily flower on it and a purple flag with a sword and shield on it.
As a result, the soldiers belonged to various groups. Except the 800 out of 3000 troops known as the “Raven Army,” was a group of guards sent out by western nobility.
A child stands up, his eyes shining with happiness, and unconsciously takes a step forward.
The mother hurriedly pulled the child’s body to her ― but her action was too slow. The horse neighs loudly, and at the same time, a luxurious carriage stops right in front of them.
――They interrupted the imperial family’s march.
In other words, they could have been sentenced to death. The mother’s face turned pale with pity.
“Do you know whose march you’ve interfered with?”
The soldier’s voice flew in anger. The soldiers’ voices were filled with such rage that they wanted to cover their ears. The villagers around them barely managed to hold back their screams, but their faces were pale with despair.
“Please forgive me! I did not mean to offend!”
The mother clasped her hands together and desperately apologized. The villagers begged for forgiveness for the mother and child. However, the anger of the screaming soldiers did not abate.
He knew that if anything happened to the imperial family, he would be punished as well. It would be better if he only lost his job. If he were not careful, his life would be in danger because of his responsibility.
The soldier’s face flushed with anger, and he lifted his arms high above his head, whip in hand.
“No! You people――!”
“It’s okay. I hope you can forgive them.”
The voice of restraint flew. With startled expressions, the villagers and soldiers turned their attention to the location. The window of the carriage had been opened. A boy with black hair and eyes peeked out of the window.
Seeing his unusual color ― a color that people in this world cannot have, everyone was taken aback and threw a rude glance at him. But it was only for a moment because a soldier stood in front of the boy, blocking the gaze of the villagers.
“Your Highness, Hiro! But they’re interrupting the march…”
“It’s good that you’re so dedicated to your work. But you’ll have to forgive them this time.”
The soldier stifled a sigh of relief.
“It’s rare to see the imperial family in a place like this. It’s not surprising that the children were surprised by the curiosity. It was not something we could have expected this time. I hope you can forgive them for that.”
“…Thank you very much.”
“Also, I want you to give this to the kid.”
Hiro handed him a small package. The soldier rolled his eyes as he checked the contents through a small opening.
“Is it… candy?”
“Yes, a bribe for the children who will support the future of the Grantz Empire.”
Hiro smiled at the soldier.
“Ha… I’ll go give it to him.”
A strange imperial family. While looking at the soldier, he turned his body quizzically and handed the sweets to the child. The child who received it thanked the soldier, his eyes shining with happiness.
“…No, it’s not from me; it’s from His Highness Hiro.”
The soldier alternates his gaze between Hiro and the child with a puzzled expression on his face. Hiro smiled and pointed his fingertips to the end of the road.
“Well, let’s get going, shall we?”
It was clear that confusion occupied his heart. The soldier had a complicated expression on his face. Still, there was no way he could disobey the imperial family’s orders.
The soldier seems to have immediately changed his mind and saluted Hiro.
“Ha! Right away!”
The soldier’s cheerful reply brought the heat to the cold air.
“Thank you very much! Thank you!”
After receiving further shouts of thanks from the villagers, Hiro pulled his face back. As the carriage began to move forward again and his body began to shake, Hiro took another look around the interior.
“Let’s see, where were we before?”
Hiro asked the people in the carriage, and one of the girls raised her hand.
“…To the letter of His Majesty.”
There was no expression on her face. Her face, which showed no trace of emotion, was one of uncaring.
She is Brigadier General Trea Luzandi Aura von Bunadhara of the Great Grantz Empire. She belongs to the western nobility, but for some reason, she was currently on her way to the Great Imperial Capital with them.
(It would have been better if Liz had recovered, but… this arrived and could not be ignored.)
Hiro looked down at his hand. There was a letter from the emperor ― a letter of summons. It said that Aura’s punishment had been decided and that Liz was to be blamed for the blunder.
(At best, it’s a house arrest, at worst, it’s a demotion, and if it’s anything other than that, it’s deprivation of the right to inherit the throne.)
After all, the fact that she had led an army of 20,000 troops and lost the battle must have left a bad taste in people’s mouths. It’s true to say that there was no way to avoid it, but the fact that she suffered a loss doesn’t mean she can’t be blamed for it. Since she’s the sixth princess, the noble lords may complain about her. This is the reason why a suitable punishment is necessary. It’s the same for Aura.
Still, a severe punishment could be avoided. That’s why Hiro attacked the Grand Duchy of Dral.
(Whatever the case, it’s up to the emperor to decide what to do with the two of them.)
Hiro sighed and looked at Liz, who was sitting to the right of Aura.
She usually has a pleasant smile on her face, but at the moment, she seems to have something on her mind and is snarling with a stern look on her face. However, her injuries seem to be fine, and apart from the ripped nails, the wounds are healing at an alarming rate thanks to the protection of the spirit sword.
“So what was written in the emperor’s letter?”
In response to the voice, Hiro looked to the left of Aura and saw a woman wearing a hood. She’s a strong woman and a former princess who led the Felzen remnant army and hunted down Aura.
She is Haran Skaaha de Felzen.
Although her face was hidden in the shade, her mouth was twisted with hatred, as if she was not comfortable when she heard the word emperor. Hiro didn’t bother to mention it and decided to pretend he hadn’t seen it.
“Yeah, it would be quicker if you read the emperor’s letter…”
It was sent to Hiro, but the contents were quite normal, and there was nothing to hide. When he opened the emperor’s letter in front of the three of them, they huddled together and peered at it.
Aura was the first to react. Perhaps it was something she had anticipated, but she cowered and leaned back. After that, Liz stared at the letter with a somber expression but soon began to clench her fists and nod as if she had made up her mind.
Only Skaaha was repeatedly breathing as if to quiet her mind. She began to take on a dangerous air as if she would jump on the emperor if she met him.
“So, I’d like to discuss the future.”
Hiro opened his mouth with a wry smile at the three different responses he had received.
“I think that depending on the situation; the rival factions will blame Liz and Aura for their failure.”
They will surely call for severe punishment. It would be the perfect opportunity to eliminate Liz from the struggle for the throne’s succession and kick Aura, who had been making great strides, to the curb. There was no way they would let that pass.
Then, in order to avoid that, they would have to change their point of view.
“The Krone family, the ones who had committed such treasonous acts in Felzen, were just around the corner. Let’s use them to our advantage.”
By exposing their crimes in broad daylight, they can turn the tables on the rival factions. The conclusion Hiro reached was to condemn all those involved and weaken the Krone family, but first, he wanted to hear the opinions of the three of them.
“I agree with that… but that’s not enough.”
Liz looked straight at Hiro with determination in her eyes. The light is still wavering, but it is still searching for the best move, and it is still worrying and trying to arrive at the right answer.
“The Krone family should also bear the cost of Felzen’s reconstruction.”
Hiro nodded in satisfaction at Liz’s answer.
“You’re right. Exactly. They need to get what they deserve.”
It is important to show compassion not only to one’s own people but also to the people of other countries. In order to stand at the top of the Grantz Empire, one must not take things from a small perspective.
“You can rest assured; Rosa will take care of that matter.”
Surely, when they reach the Great Imperial Capital, they will encounter an interesting sight.
“Is that so?”
“Yes. I believe I have chosen the right person. I’m sure she’ll be able to handle it.”
Hiro smiled and then looked at Liz, who began to think languidly again.
“Then… all that’s left is… my responsibility to my father…”
Responsibility as a member of the imperial family. Duties as a citizen. Responsibilities that come with aiming to become emperor.
(I see… she really started to walk.)
Whatever the impetus, Liz began to walk her own path.
(Royal road, supreme road. Where will Liz go…?)
No matter which way she chooses, the sadness of leaving her own hands will overwhelm her heart. It was a good sign, and at the same time, Hiro thought, it would allow him to advance his own goals.
(For the time being, I will act to put Liz on the throne.)
But he couldn’t keep doing that. He had to achieve his own goals at the same time. But he didn’t want Liz, Rosa, or anyone else in the Grantz Empire to find out about it. This plan is something that even Ghada, his confidant, does not know about.
(I’ve asked her for her cooperation, but I’m not sure I can trust her.)
At the moment, Hiro’s path and hers overlap. Their interests coincide with each other. Therefore, he asks for her cooperation, but it is too dangerous to trust her, even if he can trust her.
Hiro looked out the window at the whitish north.
(Still, it’s better to take advantage of it while it is available. It is better to have as many pawns as possible because if you keep playing it safe for fear of danger, you will never be able to make a move on your side. Even if it’s originally black, it’s white for now.)
While Hiro was pondering this, Aura was looking at Skaaha with great interest.
But Aura didn’t say anything; she just stared at Skaaha.
Skaaha is uncomfortable and shaking her shoulders, and her body movements are very confused. Liz didn’t seem to notice the two of them, and as if she had made up her mind, she looked up and turned her red eyes to Hiro.
“Hiro… there is something I want you to ask you when we get to the Great Imperial Capital.”
Her voice was full of determination, and Hiro knew that she had set her course. Whether that was an important turning point or not is remained to be discovered.