It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (40/79), enjoy~
Everyone knows that the Grantz Empire possesses a vast territory. Since it took on its current form, the emperor’s eyes have often failed to reach the frontier.
The current emperor, the 43rd emperor, feared that the frontiers would fall apart, so he divided his vast territory into five regions: the north, the west, the east, the south, and the center.
Although the emperor is the ruler of the five territories, the archdukes, known as the five great nobles, are the ones who actually run the territories.
Among them, the Krone family has been one of the five great noble families for many years. Their house has existed since the early days of the birth of the Great Grantz Empire. With their stable history and noble lineage recognized, they had been entrusted with the country’s center, where the capital, Cladius, was located.
The headquarters of the Krone family is located 30 cells (90 kilometers) away from the capital. The wealth of the Krone family is supported by the fertile land in the Trident River basin, and their position in the center of the country is solid because they have several trade routes to other countries.
As if to symbolize this, the Krone family’s stronghold, “Twin Claw Castle,” has become so prosperous that it could be mistaken for the capital. Beyond the iron gates of the city walls are the city center. The market is bustling, and you can see people conversing and laughing. If you continue through the gate, you will be greeted by the high walls again. The castle, with its watchtowers, had the appearance of a fortress within the city.
Inside the castle, Stobel was in the room of the head of the Krone family.
“The emperor has done you a great favor. Grandfather.”
“That senile emperor has forgotten all that we have done for him and has cut us off.”
In contrast to Stobel, who was smiling happily, the head of the Krone family was throwing abusive words.
“The history of the Krone family is the history of the Grantz family. These two are inseparable. That emperor doesn’t understand anything. Who do you think has supported his reign so far?”
The head of the Krone family has a boiling murderous spirit rising from his body.
Then Stobel gave him a cold stare.
“Grandfather, why don’t you calm down a little?”
“Stobel… do you really think this is a situation where I could stay calm?”
The head of the Krone family turned red and confronted Stobel in anger.
“In the first place, what did you think when you abandoned the right to inherit the throne, and if this continues, it will be the end of the Krone family.”
“Fuh, I suppose.”
Stobel was calm. Rather, he snorted and made fun of his panicked grandfather.
“It’s because of your existence that we have been able to chain the hearts of the nobles to this day… and what are we going to do now?”
The daughter of the head of the Krone family is married to the emperor, and Stobel is the son of the emperor and his daughter ― in other words, he’s his grandson. However, Stobel’s mother, who was an empress, died an untimely death on the day Stobel came of age, and as if by coincidence, the Krone family was cut off from distant relations with the Grantz family.
“Grandfather, you’re too old to get angry; you’ll break the blood vessels in your head.”
“You’re… the one who’s always trying to upset people’s emotions.”
The head of the Krone family let out a breath of disgust and turned his cloudy eyes on Stobel.
“In the first place, what about the soldiers I brought in from all over? It’s a good thing I took your instructions and gathered them as a threat, but they didn’t have any effect, did they?”
“You weren’t even blamed for your crimes, so who cares?”
“Thanks to you, I ended up with more shame. It’s hard enough to feed forty thousand soldiers who have nowhere else to go, and now the emperor has not only to confiscate our lands, but we have to pay for the reconstruction of Felzen.”
“You were able to collect 40,000…? That’s amazing.”
And Stobel narrowed his eyes sharply when he heard the number of troops with an unconcerned face.
“And yet, the number was less than I had expected. I’ve heard that some idiot has been breaking into the homes of those who are suspicious of me. That’s why I haven’t been able to get as many collaborators as I had hoped.”
The head of the Krone family was holding his temples as if he had a headache.
“But there’s no need to be troubled. With that many troops, we will be able to invade the Great Imperial Capital. We might even be able to pull the emperor down from his throne. Isn’t it time for grandfather’s dream to come true?”
The head of the Krone family looked suspiciously at the disturbing words spoken by Stobel.
“If I do that, the Krone family will really be finished. It’s not just a dream come true; it’s a catastrophe. Stobel… what are you thinking?”
“Hah, now that you mention it… it’s already over.”
Stobel’s voice is suddenly low.
The eyes of the head of the Krone family twisted in discomfort.
“I’m sure you know, grandfather. Three hundred years ago ― the truth about the emperor’s assassination.”
The head of the Krone family gulped as if frightened by the strange presence of his grandson in front of him.
“The old things must be weeded out. The rotten fruit must be smashed to pieces in order for new seeds to bloom. Just as the rotten world was once reborn.”
Stobel smiled wryly and said that the Grantz Empire was no exception to this rule.
“Silent, and listen to me… you are making a joke of yourself, and what is a noble without a country?”
The head of the Krone family, who is swollen with anger, extends his arm to Stobel with a voice of reprimand.
But Stobel was the one who took the initiative.
He grabbed his old grandfather’s arm with his strong arm strength.
A bone-crunching sound reverberated through the room, and the head of the Krone family, unable to bear the pain, dropped to the floor on both knees.
“Stobel, you bastard!”
The head of the Krone family glared at Stobel with an expression that was a mixture of intense pain and anger.
But it had no effect, and Stobel rose from his chair without a care in the world.
“You’re talking nonsense. It was grandfather who made the first move, wasn’t it?”
“D-do you think you can get away after doing this to me…?”
“Who are you talking to? You’re just an old man who lost his power?”
An electric current flowed from Stobel’s body as if in response to his anger. The next thing that happened was that a raging storm raced through the room in all directions.
The walls were gouged out. The floor was shattered. The ceiling was scorched, and an overwhelming amount of light dominated the room.
“Grandfather… or should I say loser?”
Stobel’s face twisted in amusement as he held up one hand. His eyes glistened with delight as if he were slaughtering livestock that had been waiting to be fattened.
“You are no longer needed. But don’t worry. I’ll carry on your dream, and I’ll mourn for you by releasing your grudge against the emperor.”
“W-wait… Stobel. You want to kill your own grandfather?”
“I have never thought of you as a grandfather, okay?”
The head of the Krone family, who had been subjected to a cold-blooded sentiment that was unbelievably human, stared at Stobel in dismay, as if recalling his past sins.
“You’re nothing but dust that corrupts the world.”
Stobel turns his eyes, devoid of all emotion, towards the head of the Krone family.
A moment later ― a thunderbolt pierced the body of the head of the Krone family.
There was no scream. The thunderbolt pierced him like a spear, and in an instant, the old man’s life was cut short. The smell of smoldering flesh filled the room. It was a sickening odor that seemed to linger in the nose and clings to the body.
“Fuh, even in death, you still make me feel uncomfortable; what a piece of garbage.”
Stobel sniffed and sat back down in his chair with a grimace.
There were several knocks on the door.
“You seem to be finished.”
Without waiting for an answer, the person who had entered the room was Stobel’s right-hand man.
He was a muscular old soldier. It is obvious that no one in the Grantz Empire does not knows his name. One swing of his sword could split a river, and one stroke of his spear could bring down a city wall.
In his youth, he was feared as a “demon” as he crossed the borders of many countries.
He was a former general named Trey Fleen von Loing.
He looked down at the body lying on the floor without a shred of emotion.
“He was a man of great ambition, but when it came down to it, he was a small man blown about by a cowardly wind.”
“But he left us a lot of things. I must thank him for that.”
Stobel sipped the wine on his desk and laughed loudly.
“Loing, my grandfather was assassinated by someone. It must have been the emperor.”
After a beat, however, he seemed to be able to understand the intent of his words.
“…Then we shall have to avenge him.”
Loing’s voice took on a joyful tone as it melted onto the body of the head of the Krone family.
“Send a messenger. The old man has scrambled to gather an army of forty thousand men.”
“What shall I do?”
“Write that the emperor has cruelly assassinated a man who has contributed greatly to the development of the Grantz Empire. If you do that, the angry people will come to the Great Imperial Capital.”
What follows is the collapse of the Great Grantz Empire. When he imagined the Imperial Capital, which had flourished for a thousand years, burning down, Stobel threw his glass on the floor, chuckling.
“Finally. It’s been a long road to get here, but now I don’t have to keep playing the clown.”
“But the emperor is aware of our plans. In fact, the noble lords have gathered at the Great Imperial Capital with their soldiers.”
“It all ended in vain, though. A week of silence, which eliminated the tension and made the noble lords careless. Now all of them are on their way back to their headquarters.”
The tide is in their favor.
Stobel wanted to say so, but Loing’s expression did not clear up.
“It’s the same on our side. There are forty thousand of them gathered, but now that they’ve lost their centripetal force, only half of them will move, won’t they?”
But Stobel brushed aside Loing’s fears.
“There is no need to worry about that. That’s why I use my anger. The head of the Krone family was a selfish old man, but many people still felt indebted to him. Above all, there are probably some nobles who are unable to escape the rapidly changing situation. I estimate that about 30,000 will gather. I’ll leave it to you to lead it.”
When Stobel muttered that…
“Then, as a military strategist, I will be acting as Lord Loing’s second-in-command.”
There was no presence. And yet, a voice other than theirs reverberated in the room.
Loing’s face tensed up, and he opened his legs into a fighting stance. Stobel stood up from his chair as if a bullet had hit him, and his whole body was electrified.
The two men turned their deadly gaze on the sudden intruder.
“Yaya, did I startle you? It’s me. Nameless.”
The hooded figure raised his hand in an easygoing tone as if he were a spectator.
“You… Have you been here all this time?”
Vigilance and irritation twisted Stobel’s mouth. Loing, too, put his hand on the hilt of the sword at his waist and glared at the Nameless.
“It’s not like I came here to hear you say something that anyone could say.”
What do you think? Nameless spun his words as if he were a merchant trying to negotiate.
“I don’t think Mr. Stobel, who is not very good at socializing, has a lot of helpers. The old soldier there may not be able to help you in any way. That’s why I wanted to help in a small way… Well, I don’t want to force you, but…”
The Nameless shrugged his shoulders aloofly, and Loing showed a vein on his forehead.
“Did you just insult me…?”
“No, no, I was just stating a fact.”
The air between the two of them was filled with bitterness. There, a thunderbolt flew through the air as if to cut through it.
Their gaze turned to Stobel. He sniffed annoyingly and sat down in his chair with vigor.
“‘Loing, I don’t think this is the time for a fight.”
“…Ha, sorry about that.”
Stobel took one look at Loing as he bowed his head and shot a sharp look at Nameless.
“Nameless, whatever you are planning is useless in the face of my plans, but if you make any strange moves, I will expose your soft neck to the wild and feed it to the ravens.”
“That’s scary. I will be careful.”
Despite these words, Nameless’s voice was bouncing happily.
Loing stared at the Nameless as if he were looking at a suspicious person.
“So, what are you going to do about it, Your Highness Stobel?”
“I don’t know.”
Stobel tapped his own head with a twinkle in his horrified eyes.
“Reorganize the chaos ― take the head of the old lion.”