It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (69/96), enjoy~
“Then I’ll join up with the Fourth Imperial Army right away and head west.”
Once Liz started walking, Skaaha and Aura followed suit. They seem to feel the same way and will not listen to what Vetu has to say.
“I should have known this, but… it can’t be helped.”
With a sigh of exasperation, Vetu snapped his fingers.
The door that connects to the hallway swung open and armed soldiers rushed in.
“What do you think you’re doing?”
Liz looked at him and drew her Flame Emperor from her waist. Aura also has a spirit weapon in her hand, but Skaaha beside her is empty-handed for fear of revealing her true identity. When Liz and the others indicated that they would not back down, the soldiers, sensing that their lives were in danger, quickly readied their weapons.
“Please listen to me. We have no intention of fighting.”
“Then let the soldiers go.”
“I can’t do that. I would never break my promise. I believe that trust is more important than life. So, will you please comply obediently?”
“Well… I guess I’ll just have to force myself to leave.”
Both Liz and Vetu stared at each other, both determined not to give up.
Tension was building between them.
“What are you going to do now that you’ve taken the Fourth Imperial Army?”
Selvia was the one who broke the silence.
“The opponent has swelled to an army of 200,000. Even with the Fourth Imperial Army with only 20,000 troops, the result is obvious. Above all, are you going to let His Highness Hiro’s resolve be for naught?”
“That’s… but with Hiro’s plan, we might be able to win.”
“Maybe. But the chances of winning are close to zero. Your Highness Celia Estrella must know that. There is no point in rushing for reinforcements now.”
Liz’s lips tighten in frustration, perhaps because she knew what she was getting into. The Flame Emperor let out a small burst of flame as if to represent Liz’s emotions.
Liz’s gaze wandered around, desperately trying to find something to deny, but it created impatience.
“…that’s right. Blutar is in the Felzen region! We should contact――”
“It seems that the Third Prince Blutar has been captured.”
Selvia said without hesitation.
The one who raised her voice was not Liz. It was Aura who was behind her. She was looking at Selvia with eyes wide open in surprise, which was unusual for her.
“…I’ve heard that the army of the Third Prince Blutar, which was deployed in the Felzen region, was destroyed by the Queen of Anguis, one of the countries of the Six Kingdoms. In the meantime, we have received reports that many of the western nobles have shown their vassalage to the Six Kingdoms.”
“…We have to inform Hiro!”
“He already knows about that, you know?”
Liz was about to run when Vetu blocked her way.
“Please stand down!”
“His Highness Hiro is aware of this. It was he who reported the capture of the Third Prince Blutar.”
“His Highness Hiro has 20,000 troops, and you have 20,000, for a total of only 40,000. If you go now, you won’t make it. Now is the time for you to save your strength. Or do you have a secret plan to defeat an army of two hundred thousand?”
“That’s… I don’t know… But I feel like I have to go.”
Liz felt like she was going to lose sight of Hiro’s back. She was finally able to grasp it, but fear crept up her toes as if she could never catch it again. A cold sensation enveloped her entire body as if her body was sinking.
She couldn’t keep her composure as she couldn’t understand what Hiro was thinking.
When Vetu saw Liz shivering even though she was not cold, he felt something and lowered his eyes.
“I now understand why His Highness Hiro did not tell you the truth.”
Vetu’s eyes, which had once again been staring straight at Liz, were not lit with any emotion.
Liz narrowed her eyes and glared at Vetu.
“What do you mean…?”
“So that’s the reason.”
And Vetu lifted his hand sluggishly.
“You are a little too intuitive, as His Highness Hiro wrote in his letter. It’s all well and good to be impetuous, but if you go too far, you’ll become overzealous, and disaster will befall you.”
Vetu continued to talk about Liz’s shortcomings indifferently.
“His Highness Hiro is using himself as a pawn to further your development. Your personal feelings are secondary to his desire for the well-being of the nation.”
Vetu stroked his chin curiously with a mysterious light in his eyes.
“But then ― how far does he look ― no, does he mean it?”
Liz’s expression stiffened as Vetu lowered his face and began mumbling to himself. But he was unconcerned, entering more and more into his own world.
The strange silence soon passed. Suddenly, Vetu looked up happily.
“…I see. Your Highness Celia Estrella, I have come up with a plan that will allow you to rush to reinforcements right now. Moreover, we may be able to drive back the Six Kingdoms.”
Liz’s eyes were filled with anticipation for a moment, but when she looked into Vetu’s eyes bared with desire, she felt a chill run down her spine. She thought she had caught a glimpse of this man’s true nature.
“But on one condition.”
A creepy hint of a grip around his throat emanated from Vetu.
“If you will take my son as your husband, I will lend you a hand in this war against the Six Kingdoms. If you ask me to assemble them right now, I can gather about thirty thousand. If you can give me some time, I can get you more…?”
“Can you help me… if I accept your conditions?”
“Yes, of course, if you become my son’s wife, I will give you my full cooperation. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Political marriages are not uncommon nowadays.”
Aura, who was listening to the conversation between the two behind Liz, moved.
“Well ― Mm!?”
However, she was unable to move forward and was dragged backward. Skaaha tried to rescue her as quickly as possible, but Selvia, who had blocked Aura’s movement, put her index finger over her mouth.
That was all it took for her to realize her intentions ― for Skaaha, she pulled back straightforwardly and looked at Liz with pleading eyes.
She seemed to have made up her mind. There is no hesitation in her eyes. She stared straight at Vetu and opened her mouth without hiding her discomfort.
“I refuse. Don’t joke with me.”
Liz brushed her sideburns off her shoulders and put her hands on her hips.
Her eyes darted to Vetu, who tilted his head.
“…Didn’t you just tell me not to be so impulsive?”
“As an aspiring emperor, I can’t give in to the threats of my subordinates.”
Liz declared proudly.
Vetu held his temples as if he had a headache.
“If the country collapses, how can you talk about being emperor?”
“But as a member of the Grantz Imperial family, I cannot accept such a demand.”
“Oh… that was well thought out, wasn’t it? How can you help His Highness Hiro?”
“Hiro would be furious if I rushed to his aid under such conditions.”
Before leaving, Hiro told Liz to follow her heart. Then, there was no way she could follow through with Vetu’s unreasonable demands.
“I’m not sure what you mean by ‘furious’… Hahaha, to be rejected for such a reason.”
“That’s enough, dear.”
His wife interrupted him from behind the laughing Vetu.
“You should stop teasing Her Highness. It might put you at a disadvantage in the future.”
Vetu smiled and had the soldiers put away their weapons.
“Her Highness Celia Estrella… please forgive my rudeness.”
Selvia, who approached Liz soundlessly, bowed her head.
“What do you mean?”
“We have no sons. We do have daughters, but the eldest one is just two years old. Therefore, my husband’s suggestion of a political marriage was a jest.”
“I-is that so? I thought he was serious…”
“Your quick decision is refreshing, Your Highness, but at the same time, it is also dangerous. In the future, you should take your time and think before you make a decision.”
Selvia advised her with a smile.
“But since the fault lies with us, we shall listen to Your Highness’ request.”
“Oh, hey, Selvia, don’t just decide that yourself!”
Vetu shouted at his wife, who was trying to get a hold of him.
“What is it?”
The glare he gets instantly turns him off.
Silence coiled between them for a while.
“Huh… it can’t be helped.”
Vetu gave up. He showed a slight hesitation, but then he knelt down in front of Liz with a look of instant determination on his face.
“The preparations are already in place. The southern nobles will now stand up to save the Grantz Empire from danger. It would be a shame to our ancestors if we let the savages from the west go unchecked.”
Liz let out a silly voice, unable to comprehend the situation.
It was Selvia, after all, who gave her a helping hand.
“Originally, it was a promise we had made to His Highness Hiro to cooperate with Your Highness Celia Estrella, but things got complicated when my husband got greedy and went out of control.”
Liz didn’t know it, but Hiro and the Muzuk couple had made a secret pact. Vetu agreed as it was in the best interest of both parties. This is why it was decided from the start that they would cooperate.
Liz couldn’t understand it yet, but she could only reply dryly.
“Then, I would like you to add 50,000 troops under your command. Oh, it won’t take long. We’ll be ready to go in about a week.”
“…Didn’t you say it was thirty thousand?”
“As I said before, we have been making preparations since we decided to cooperate with His Highness Hiro. Although the marching speed of 70,000, including the Fourth Imperial Army, is slow, I think it is enough to provide reinforcements.”
Liz was momentarily taken aback but gradually understood and smiled.
“I thank you for your generous cooperation.”
“Then please give your orders.”
Just like her husband, Selvia dropped to one knee on the floor. The soldiers and servants followed suit and knelt down on the floor.
Liz regained her composure with a single cough and stomped across the floor, raising her arm and pointing her palm at them.
“After joining up with the Fourth Imperial Army, we’ll take on the Six Kingdoms in a decisive battle to save the Grantz Empire! We may be outnumbered, but I’m convinced that the quality of our soldiers is superior. We are the dominant lions of the central continent, and we must know that defeat is not an option!”
All of those who knelt in front of Liz gave her a pleasant reply in unison.
“I shall head to the Berg fortress and make preparations. I’ll join you later.”
When Vetu looked up, he could only see the back of the princess as she left.
Vetu smiled at the now tiny lioness.
“She is a healthy girl, don’t you think? Fate is a cruel thing since His Highness Hiro will no longer be in this world when she runs to him.”
Standing up, Vetu followed Liz’s now invisible back with his eyes.
“We will not be in time, not even close. His Highness Hiro’s plan was brilliant and flawless. Losing him would be a great loss for the Grantz Empire, but it would be good news for the enemy… as Her Highness Celia Estrella would be easy to control.”
“But it is unlikely that you will be able to do as you please.”
And when Selvia warned him, Vetu frowned uncomfortably.
“Why do you think so?”
“That girl will get stronger. Although I’ve never met His Highness Hiro, but… I’m sure he will stand in your way as even more of a nuisance than he was before.”
“Whose side are you on?”
Waving his hand in the air as if to say it was deafening, Vetu summoned his entourage.
“Whatever, let’s just go along with it for now.”
As her husband began to walk toward the entrance, she watched his back and put her finger on her chin.
After a beat, she immediately beckoned one of the servants with her hand.
“…What can I do for you?”
She looked down at the servant kneeling in front of her with eyes that were not lit with emotion. She gave off a far different vibe than before and lifted the edge of her mouth in a grin.
“It would be best to take out insurance. Contact Rosa-sama.”
Then she cast a glance at her husband’s back.
“Women will do what they please. The men should just shut up and kneel down.”
Here she was, smiling a bewitching smile befitting her appearance.