It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (54/87), enjoy~
It was unexpected.
He couldn’t hide his disappointment at the results, which were far beyond his expectations. Things were going well at first. The plan to put Liz on the throne had been going smoothly.
Stobel renounced his right to the throne, the Krone family rebelled, and a crisis loomed over the Great Imperial Capital.
The events unfolded as he had generally expected. Now all that was left was the emperor’s death, and the plan would have been complete.
He sets up Stobel as a usurper and has Liz take him down to gain the support of the nobles.
He thought that Liz, with her newfound power, could do it. Having Skaaha as an insurance policy was probably not a mistake either. But ― It was broken at the last minute.
“…I should have come with her if this was the case.”
“What are you mumbling about?”
Stobel turned his bloodshot eyes on him. Hiro let out a sigh of disappointment at his new appearance.
“If I were here… the girls would not have been hurt. They wouldn’t have been hurt by someone as stupid as you.”
The outcome would have been different if he had fought alongside them without fear of being exposed to the darkness. This was the result of a weak mind, and he should have dealt with things in a more cold-blooded way.
“Since that day, all I’ve done is regret…”
The Heavenly Emperor in Hiro’s hand had lost its silvery glow and had begun to turn black and stagnant.
Even though the windows are not open, the wind blows wildly. The hem of the “Black Princess Camellia” began to dance vigorously as if filled with anger.
“You… who are you?”
Stobel said as he covered his face with his hands to tend to his wounds. Seeing that gesture, Hiro’s mouth twisted in amusement.
“Unfortunately, that wound will never heal.”
“…What do you mean?”
“It’s the Flame Emperor’s blessing ―― Purification.”
Silence followed. After a pause, Stobel opened his mouth.
“…What kind of nonsense is that? The Flame Emperor’s blessing was supposed to be Monstrous Strength.”
“You should remember that a thousand years ago, the first Emperor Altius was fighting against something.”
“…Everyone knows that…?”
Stobel shivered in astonishment. A look of complete understanding passed over his eyes.
Stunned by his ignorance, Hiro shrugged his shoulders.
“Now you know why he was so fond of the Flame Emperor, don’t you?”
“You, who have taken in the demon, will suffer forever and will never be cured.”
Hiro tightened his grip on the hilt of the Heavenly Emperor and raised it to his chest height.
“Now ― that’s the end of the story.”
Without hesitation, Hiro picked off the eye patch that covered the left half of his face. What appeared from underneath it was a left eye that was spilling out a disastrous light.
And then, his left eye moved.
Even in the dark, the shining eye is something that no ordinary person can have.
The eye, colored with a tremendous pigment, is something that no human being can possess.
This is what people used to call it with reverence.
――Heavenly Spirit Eye.
It is the mark of a hero and is praised as the eyes of a champion. A thousand years have passed, and it is still spoken of as one of the three most secret eyes in the world.
“I’m going to give it my all. You don’t need to go easy on me, okay?”
Hiro sharpened his senses and took a glance at the place where Skaaha and Liz had fallen.
“It seems to me that Liz and Skaaha will not notice me now.”
A fierce fighting spirit rose from Hiro’s body. With the combination of supremacy, the color changed and oppressed the space.
“The time of awakening has come.”
Hiro muttered to the black and stagnant Heavenly Emperor. He whispered in a voice that was as gentle as it could be and as clear as it could be.
The next moment, the blade cracked in order from the tip to the handle. It split. It shattered.
As if shedding their old shells, the fragments fell to the floor, popped, and disappeared.
The transformation from white to black. It transformed like a sinner fleeing from fate.
“Eat it all up, Dark Emperor.”
Deep darkness comes over the world.
There is no light at all. All that spreads is despair and desperation.
Stobel watches in amazement as the world changes. In front of him, Hiro is standing calm and composed.
He looks as natural as ever. Still, there was one thing that had changed.
The silver and white sword was gone, and in Hiro’s hand was a black sword.
The bladed, the hilt, the tsuba, everything is black ―― jet black as if to embody darkness.
The laughter was not from Hiro ―― it was somehow coming from Stobel.
“What’s so funny?”
When Hiro asked, the corner of Stobel’s mouth lifted up to the point of splitting.
“I’ve seen that sign before.”
Stobel prepared himself with the Thunder Emperor in his right hand and the Wind Emperor in his left.
“It seems that you, like me, have taken in the power of the primordial!”
The words were fatal. It was a word that stroked the young man’s emotions.
Then, the sound disappeared from the world as if cold water were choking it.
And then… and then… and then…
The air rang out. It chirped.
Unable to withstand the pressure, it was torn apart by the kill and devoured by the power.
“To mention that name, your recklessness is frightening――”
In the freezing cold darkness, the “Heavenly Spirit Eye” was wriggling blazingly. Even though there was no wind, the hem of the Black Princess Camellia slapped the air repeatedly as if unable to control her anger.
“――Stop your chattering, small fry. Shall I kill you with your false image?”
His skin was peeling away. The young man revealed a part of his darkness that he had never shown to anyone.
“If you think you can kill me, go ahead and try!”
Stobel jumped in happily and swung the Thunder Emperor down. However, there was no sign of Hiro, and his battle-ax only smashed the floor violently.
He caught sight of Hiro shimmering in the rising dust.
“Let me test your strength!”
He swung the “Thunder Emperor” as lightly as if it were a twig. The lightning blade drew a precise trajectory as it approached Hiro. Without moving, Hiro simply raised the arm that held the “Dark Emperor.”
The two blades clashed, sparks flying as they met. A deafening scream like a shriek echoed through the throne room. As the wind blows mercilessly in all directions, the wind roars with thunderbolts and strikes Hiro as a blade.
“Too slow. I can see it coming.”
Hiro took a step back and, terrifyingly, avoided all the attacks.
He twisted his neck, stepped forward, waved his hands, deflected his shoulders, and avoided them all with a few simple gestures.
“Hou! You’re good!”
Stobel’s face was dyed with joy, but there was astonishment that he could not hide.
Even so, he still attacked Hiro without pausing for a breath.
Countless sparks flew between the two.
One, two, three slashes were exchanged for what seemed like an eternity.
“Not yet! I can go on! I can kill you and reach even greater heights!”
The excitement heightened his will to fight. The rage swelled his muscles, and his supreme energy created an inexhaustible supply of physical strength. Intricate patterns of warning began to appear on Stobel’s body.
Growth, evolution, blossoming. In the battle against Hiro, Stobel’s body is about to transform into the most suitable body for battle.
It was the first time that Hiro showed a hint of frustration in his sharp expression.
He dodged a large swinging battle-ax, flicked off a wind blade that tried to cut through his skin, deflected a thunderbolt aimed at his leg with a single flash, and leaped backward, kicking at the void.
“Hey, Fourth Prince. Don’t you think it’s fun? Don’t you think there’s something to be found in a battle where lives are cut short?”
Hiro’s sharp eyes pierced through the distance. Stobel was shaking his shoulders happily. He had an arrogant smile on his face, and his mouth hung up in an eerie way. It was a face of such misery that it was hard to believe he was human any longer.
“And finally, I will stand in heaven. I will trample down every single person who stands in my way.”
“You can’t stand in the heavens ― no, I won’t let you.”
Shrugging his shoulders, Hiro sighs in exasperation.
“There is only one person who can stand in heaven. And it’s not you.”
Stobel frowned. On the other hand, Hiro nonchalantly drew a crescent moon around his mouth.
What dwells in those black eyes is not something as simple as murderous intent.
His eyes were filled with a murderous intent that pierced Stobel to the point of making his hair stand on end.
“――I will devour the heavens.”
With eyes filled with deep darkness, he let his whole body radiate a strong fighting spirit, like a sharp blade.
“Until the day the sun rises again, no one will have the heavens.”
Hiro held the “Dark Emperor” horizontally and pointed the tip of the blade at Stobel.
“Every life is equally lured into emptiness.”
――Dark Mirror Corpse Water.
There was no change. The air just became more intimidating.
The only thing in front of him was the same young man standing leisurely as before. There was also a distance between them. That’s why Stobel was not paying attention.
A splash of blood flew up into the air from Stobel’s chest. He dropped to one knee on the floor while looking at the fresh blood splattered on the floor. He didn’t know what it meant, and his expression showed his confusion.
At that moment…
“What did you do?”
A rage was spat out. A roar of anger that shook the space was released from Stobel.
The wound does not heal. Just like the wounds that he received from Liz, something was wrong with Stobel’s body. The pain was overshadowed by anger, and Stobel stood up with his face colored with rage, spreading blood on the floor.
With a beastly roar, Stobel rushed at Hiro with furious force.
The thunderbolt rages, and the wind blade mercilessly cuts the surrounding area. As if to show his overwhelming strength, Stobel released a tremendous amount of magic power.
On the other hand, Hiro quietly closed his eyes and stood in the darkness as if he was trying to hide his breath.
There was no emotion on his face. What was there was nothing. There was no frustration, no rage, not even supreme energy.
He just had a lot of sweat on his forehead.
“It seems that you are still not able to handle your power. If you lose your reason, you’re no better than a beast.”
Hiro put his hand on the blade of the Dark Emperor and dropped his waist into an iai stance.
“If so, I’ll get rid of you here so you won’t become a problem later on.”
――This was when he declared that.
The sound of a bell rang out from nowhere.
For a brief moment, the sound caused a distraction.
He immediately looked back, but the figure of Hiro in front of Stobel had disappeared.
“Cursed King Sword, Dark Emperor.”
The sound of the bell propagated through the air louder than before.
The darkness around Hiro has swept away, disintegrating like confetti and being carried away by the wind.
“Disaster King Sword, Dark Emperor.”
When another sound of the bell echoed, something wrapped around Hiro’s body and restrained him. The invisible chain tightened around his body like a vise.
“…Who is that?”
Hiro put all his strength into his limbs to destroy the invisible chains, and his gaze condensed with anger.
Eventually, his eyes landed on a spot. Stobel was lying on the ground.
A hooded figure of indeterminate gender stood over him.
“O King. Please calm your anger.”
The voice was neither high nor low. The person who spoke in a neutral tone of voice reached out into the empty space. The back of his hand, which was hidden by his sleeve, was exposed to the outside world, revealing a blue crystalline stone.
The crystalline stone gradually became illuminated, and when it emitted a particularly large light, it diffused into the surroundings.
“He still needs to be kept alive. It would be a shame to waste all the power he’s taken in, wouldn’t it?”
As the light converged, a tin staff appeared in his hand, and the hooded figure thrust it to the floor.
“Who are you?”
“Oya, I’ve told you before, I’m the Long-Ear race, Nameless.”
He put his hands on his hood and extended his index finger as if it were an ear.
“So I’d like to negotiate with you, but…?”
“It’s no use. I’ll finish Stobel off here.”
Hiro jumped ― kicked down the distance in an instant, and attacked Nameless.
The blade dug into his body. There should have been a loud splash of blood. However, just as the illusion wavered, the figure of Nameless disappeared.
“You’re belligerent now, aren’t you? Or should I say, it’s your true form?”
When he turned around in response to the voice behind him, “Nameless” was sitting on the throne.
At his feet lay Stobel.
With his arm resting on the armrest, Nameless held up two fingers and pointed them at Hiro.
“Two. I can provide two useful pieces of information to you, King. So why don’t you let me go?”
Hiro put his hands on his hips, exhaled heavily, and laughed in response to this suggestion.
“…Fine. I’ll take the information.”
He decided to take the offer. He decided that there would be no problem if he could eliminate him after getting some useful information. Then the Long-Ear’s mouth twisted in amusement.
“Well, first of all, I have a cooperative relationship with the Black Death Village, and they want to revive the “Father.” This is part of the reason why His Highness Stobel took this form. They’re amazing. They’re everywhere and nowhere, so they’re impossible to catch.”
The Long-Ear continued, his voice quivering with amusement.
“Second, the camp to which they belong is the Six Kingdoms, and they will soon launch a large-scale invasion against the Great Grantz Empire. In addition, the first prince Stobel has sold this country… They say you can’t choose your parents, but you can’t choose your children either. I have a lot of sympathy for this.”
How about this? Nameless said proudly with his arms outstretched.
“Is there nothing else?”
“Yeah. I’ve already told you what I can tell you.”
Then there was no more need. Hiro moved his shoulder to attack.
“Is that okay? The first emperor’s throne will be broken.”
Then Hiro’s hand stopped for a moment.
Nameless laughed heartily when he saw Hiro quickly stop his attack.
“You can’t destroy it, can you? I have no idea what kind of material it’s made of, but there’s no way the King can destroy the throne that has reigned here for a thousand years without decay.”
Nameless stood up, stroking the armrest with a lustful hand.
“O King. Let me give you one piece of advice for your kindness.”
Nameless bent at the waist with an elegant motion, grabbed Stobel by the neck and lifted him up.
“The real enemy is the one you cannot see. They hide in the dark and wait patiently for their prey to weaken. You see, they say that the real enemy appears later.”
“If you put it that way, the allies of justice will appear later too, won’t they?”
“…Was that so? Well, it doesn’t really matter, does it?”
“So you’re saying that someone set all this up?”
“I wonder? Well, you’ll find out soon enough.”
When Nameless struck the floor with his tin cane, the sound of a bell rang out across the world.
“See you soon. We’ll meet again after the Great Grantz Empire collapses.”
The air swirled and bottled up the darkness, creating a huge crack in the space.
――The Black Dragon King.
And with that, Nameless disappeared with Stobel.
Quietness. All that was left was the sad air that consumed the solitude.
But this is shattered by the sound of hurried footsteps echoing from the corridor.
“Find the survivors! Stay alert! The enemy may be lurking!”
Ghada’s voice echoed from behind. After that, soldiers came into the hall one after another, and the area was filled with noise at once.
“Liz-neesan!? Skaaha-san! Medic! Treat the two of them immediately!”
As Hiro stood there, a girl appeared in front of him.
“…Hiro, are you hurt?”
Aura looked into Hiro’s face with concern.
But her voice didn’t reach him.
The only words swirling in Hiro’s head were.
――The Black Dragon King.
It was the name of the “King” who had once spread fear throughout the world.
A gentle wind is blowing. It was warmer than the wind in the north, and it didn’t feel cold.
Looking away from the moon hidden in the clouds, there is a large city shrouded in darkness.
Here, on top of a small hill, one cell (three kilometers) away from Cladius, the capital of the Grantz Empire, four thousand troops were lined up in a commanding position, led by a single figure.
“Looks like it’s over.”
The second prince Selene let out a white breath and smiled.
“What will the awakening of the King bring to the world…?”
Laughing happily and putting his hand over his mouth, the second prince Selene looked down.
“What’s wrong? Driks?”
“I’m concerned about the safety of Prime Minister Gils.
Driks slammed his fist into the ground in frustration and turned his eyes to the Great Imperial Capital.
Selene shrugged his shoulders, thinking that he was very loyal.
“That man will survive. He’ll show up soon… He’s as persistent as a snake, after all.”
When Selene laughed…
“Urgent news! This is urgent news!”
An out-of-breath messenger rushed in front of Selene.
“The Six Kingdoms are advancing! The Six Kingdoms have begun their march towards the west!”
Driks’ face paled with surprise and despair, and he sat up.
They moved so quickly; it was as if they had measured their attack at a time like this.
“How many of them?”
“One hundred thousand! One hundred thousand, sir! But there is still no telling how many more will join the army and how far they will grow!”
Closing his eyes quietly, Selene scowled and snorted.
“Crisis after crisis, what can this country do now that it has lost its emperor…?”
When he opened his eyes again, Selene raised his hand above his head and reached for the moon.
“Now ― which option will you choose?”
Selene brought a smile to his beautiful face.
“…Black Dragon King-sama.”
On the 1st day of January in the 1024th year of the Imperial Calendar ― the year of chaos begins.