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Stobel stood up from his chair vigorously and ran outside with a devilish look on his face.
But it was quiet outside.
Soldiers were patrolling the gaps between the barracks with torches in their hands. On a cold night like this, there seemed to be very few soldiers wandering around outside, so there was not much activity.
As usual, there was a plain and unremarkable camp in front of him.
But Stobel did not remove the color of caution from his eyes. He glances around as if he is glaring at the surroundings.
Looking up at the sky, the sun had set, and the moon with a warm light was floating in the sky.
It was only because he was in possession of one of the Five Emperors of the Spirit Sword that he felt this way, but for the soldiers who had no protection, it would not provide warmth, nor would it soften the cold wind that stung their skin.
“Is something wrong? Your Highness Stobel.”
A familiar voice came from behind him. Without turning around, he could tell. It was former General Loing.
He must have been worried about Stobel, who suddenly ran off and followed him.
“I felt a similar presence. No ― not quite the same.”
“I didn’t feel anything… It must be just your imagination.”
Loing speaks lightly as he puts his hand on the back of his neck.
“You’ve been drinking, and your drunkenness may have caused you to hear things.”
This old soldier always speaks without fear and without choosing his words carefully. He has forgotten how to be attentive. Stobel was used to it, so he was not annoyed, but he was more concerned about the unidentified presence that he had just felt.
“Hmph, that was a lot of power to blow away the drunkenness.”
“Is that so…?”
When Stobel returned to the tent and sat back in his chair, Loing muttered to himself as if it were something else, biting back a sigh.
“In any case, I’m looking forward to having more strong people. It means that I will still have the opportunity to test my strength.”
Loing picked up a bottle of beer and began to drink vigorously. However, no matter how much he drinks, his cheeks do not flush, and his posture does not slouch, indicating that he does not appear to be drunk.
“…Liquor, women, war. In the past, this was all a man needed.”
“I’ve heard enough of your old stories to rot my ears.”
Stobel snorted, but the old soldier kept his good-natured smile on his face and continued to speak.
“If you have lived a free and easy life, you will eventually seek rest in a certain place. It is inevitable, I suppose.”
Loing gave a distant look of nostalgia.
“Your Highness, we all grow old. There is no escaping that fate. I hope you will find a tree to live in before then. Family is a good thing.”
“You were kicked out of your tree, though…”
The old soldier laughed at Stobel’s sarcastic remark.
“You are right. I have lived long enough to know that the loss of my home will not hurt or itch me. In any case, I became the top of the Grantz Empire ― the Five Generals Army, so my life was not bad.”
The empty liquor bottles were piled up like a mountain in Loing’s lap. Suddenly, the old soldier’s gaze fell on the empty bottles.
A hint of sadness shaded his eyes, which were filled with the light of a heroic warrior.
Without saying a word, Stobel sipped his beer.
“And well, I’m off-topic, but can you still feel that strange presence you mentioned earlier?”
He may not have noticed Stobel’s gaze, but Loing said in a deceptive tone. So, Stobel did not mention it but said sarcastically as usual.
“What do you care if you hear it? Can you understand the power of the primordial that I could not capture?”
“That kind of power is not something my old bones can withstand. I’ve already fallen, so I hope you’ll excuse me.”
When Loing uttered his apologies in a heartfelt manner, Stobel snorted and decided to change the subject.
“How are the troops organized?”
“There is no problem with that. The “Majin Corps” is almost complete.”
“Do you think they will be useful in a real battle?”
“They follow our instructions, so they may not be useless, but as for combat, I don’t know much. We’ll see how they fare in this battle, so I suggest you wait and see.”
“One thing is for sure; they are very strong.”
When Loing happily stroked his beard, Stobel also lifted his mouth.
“It’s just fortunate that the holders of the Five Emperors of the Spirit Sword are all here. We can use them as test subjects.”
“So we should not attack the Great Imperial Capital, but we should deal with Her Highness Celia Estrella’s army?”
“Yes, give them all you can; it’s easier to fool the wind. Once we’ve achieved our goal, let’s get rid of this rotten country.”
When Loing nodded with a gloomy face, Stobel’s words intensified as if to condemn him.
“What is it? Are you still attached to this country?”
“No, now that I am in this body, I have no regrets. If I remain loyal to Your Highness Stobel until the end of my life, I will have no regrets.”
Stobel didn’t say anything more. He could sense the determination in Loing’s words. Then they continued to drink in silence, and eventually, Stobel stood up.
“I should be leaving now. Can I leave the rest to you?”
“Yes, I will risk my life to make sure that our plan comes to fruition. Your Highness, do not worry about us at all and concentrate on your great task ahead.”
With these powerful words, Stobel turned away and began to walk.
When he stepped out of the tent, the wind-tossed dead leaves were flying in the sky.
The bonfires that have been built evenly throughout the camp illuminate an inadequate area, and the flames are flickering against the wind. The only thing cutting through the night air was the sound of Stobel’s footsteps on the mud and the occasional laughter of soldiers still drinking.
The sky was clear and cloudless as if the storm of the other day had never happened. After the storm had passed, a full moon was floating in the sky as if it were asserting its dominance.
Stobel began to shake his shoulders happily.
“Finally, I’ve come this far ― just as I planned.”
He stopped and extended his hand towards the night sky.
“What could be more boring than a world full of humans?”
It was as if he was asking someone a question, but the answer never came.
“The strong survive, and the weak die.”
A thousand years ago, that was the norm.
“Then, I have no choice but to bring chaos to this world again.”
A wild supreme energy was released from his entire body. The space that could not withstand the pressure became distorted.
The buzzing of the insects disappears.
The flames of the bonfire rippled violently.
The wind roared and blew in all directions.
“I will take the place of the gods who have lost their power.”
Stobel’s fists clenched as if she were crushing the full moon.
“I will become a Majin and stand in the sky.”