It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (70/96), enjoy~
The Great Grantz Empire ― Mark territory at the western end of the central region.
On the borderline connecting the central and western regions, 20,000 troops led by Hiro had formed a camp. They are investigating the movements of the Six Kingdoms from here.
There are many collaborators. Villagers whose villages had been burned, nobles who had been expelled from their cities, soldiers who had been defeated.
Hiro told them to report any information to him, no matter if it was false or not.
Even now, another messenger was galloping his horse in a hurry toward the center of the camp.
Beyond him, the “Black Dragon’s Banner” was raised at the top of the tent. The imposing majesty of the banner fascinates the hearts of those who see it. It seemed to have an unbreakable faith.
“We have discovered an enemy scouting party three cells (nine kilometers) away. The flag shows that they are definitely the Second Conquest Army. This is consistent with the testimony of the villagers.”
“The Fifth Conquest Army is a little too far away. It seems that they are using the city of Serus as their main base, and they are dispersing in all directions to loot the village. The city of Serus is twenty cells (sixty kilometers) away from here.”
“The Fourth Conquest Army, perhaps aware of our presence, has deployed its forces on the Larix Plains and is waiting for us. I couldn’t get a grasp of their commander, but judging from the situation, I’d say he’s belligerent.”
Inside the tent, people were coming and going rapidly. The civil servants who processed the information were sweating profusely as they sorted through it.
However, it was unimaginable to deal with the never-ending reports of messengers.
One after another, bundles of reports piled up on the desk. They were more than the reports that the civil servants had scrutinized. The central nobles around the desk were scratching their heads at the ever-increasing number of parchments.
Not that it was anything too much trouble. They were in despair over the extent of the damage.
Hiro, who was sitting at the honorary seat, also glanced at the pile of parchment with a problematic look on his face, sighed, and then turned his attention to Orléans, the head of the Mark family, who was sitting nearby.
“The damage is much greater than I thought.”
“Apparently so… I don’t know where to start with this.”
Orléans nodded curiously, then picked up a piece of parchment.
“The enemy has divided its 150,000 troops into six armies ― five armies excluding the main army ― and is invading. They will be merciless to those who stand against them, merciful to those who follow them, and fearful to remind those who are ambiguous.”
“…More importantly, any confirmation of the rumor that the third prince Blutar has been executed?”
“It appears to be true. The report of the third prince Blutar’s death seems to have had enough of an effect to discourage minds, and the western nobles are showing their willingness to surrender one after another.”
Orléans slammed his fist down on the desk, lamenting the unworthy western nobles.
The flashy sound of it brought about a moment of silence. Everyone stared at Orléans with surprised faces, but they immediately got on with their own business with a glare.
In the midst of the renewed noise, Hiro waited for him to calm down before addressing him.
“So, are there any western nobles who have not shown any intention to surrender and are still resisting?”
“The son of Lord Kyrthia, a western nobleman, has asked for reinforcements. The city of Sabelt seems to be under siege by the Six Kingdoms’ Second Conquest Army. The city has suffered considerable damage, and it’s only a matter of time before it falls.”
“The son asked for reinforcements?”
“It seems that his father, Lord Kyrthia, lost his life in the battle against the Six Kingdoms.”
“Where is the location?”
“Please wait. The report should have just come through.”
Orléans fished through a stack of scrutinized reports to find what he was looking for.
“This is it, yes. It’s a little under-reported in some areas, but… shouldn’t be a problem.”
“If so, can you give me a rough idea of the position of the Second Conquest Army, along with the other armies? You can put the pieces on the map behind me.”
The desk in the center was overflowing with reports, so Orléans placed the pieces on the map prepared behind Hiro. Hiro stood up, turned around, and walked over to the map.
“It seems that the Second Conquest Army is two days away from here ― the one closest to it is probably the Third Conquest Army, and the one deploying its forces a little further away is the Fourth Conquest Army.”
“…Have the surrounding nobles surrendered?”
“Regardless of what their true intentions are, at this point, I think they are likely to turn.”
“They’re doing as they please, huh?”
“No one wants their territory to be destroyed. Therefore, the situation seems to be that they are forced to run for protection. In addition, it is unavoidable now that they have lost the third prince Blutar. It’s not something that can be forgiven, though.”
Orléans muttered regretfully.
“Is the Third Imperial Capital safe?”
“The number of garrisoned troops is not very large, but they are strong, and it will be difficult to bring them down with the Six Kingdoms dispersing their forces. Even if they try to take the war to an endurance battle, the Six Kingdoms will be in trouble with food, and I think the Six Kingdoms won’t be dealing with them in this war.”
And if they’re aiming for the Central, it’s best to ignore them. Forced attacks will only result in the death of more soldiers for nothing. Maybe the idea is to create a siege situation by forcing the surrounding allies to surrender and then have them raise the white flag when they are isolated to minimize the damage…
“If they’re safe, it’s fine to leave them alone for now…”
“So what do you want to do? We could head to the Third Imperial Capital and join them in the siege?”
Orléans pointed out, Hiro shakes his head to deny it.
“There is no point if we are not taken seriously. If we are not careful, we could be surrounded and trapped.”
But most importantly ― Hiro said in advance.
“The purpose of our mission is to drive the Six Kingdoms out of the west. There is no point in staying in the Third Imperial Capital. So let’s keep in mind that we have to destroy the Second Conquest Army that is besieging the city of Sabelt. Since the enemy is dispersing, for the time being, it’s fine to adopt a policy of destroying them individually.”
The strategy to eradicate the Second Conquest Army is to use a pincer attack. In order to do that, they must get in touch with Lord Kyrthia’s son in the city of Sabelt.
“Can you instruct him to strike when we attack from behind?”
“I don’t know how big the siege will be, but I’ll send out a skilled secret agent.”
“It’s okay if you fail. If that is impossible, I will think of another way. But please do that first.”
Hiro returned to his chair and looked at the central nobles who were struggling with a stack of reports.
“Now, let’s decide on the roles of each of you.”
Hiro told them.
The Great Grantz Empire ― Hadrian’s Border Fortress at the northern end of the central region.
The border fort that connects the central and northern regions was visited by an unusual force.
The number of them is five thousand. It was eerie to see them march in silence, without revealing their faces, wrapping their huge bodies in armor, and without exchanging even a single word. Moreover, the flags they were carrying were unfamiliar, which made the people look even more uneasy.
The families of the soldiers living in the border fort looked on with anxious faces.
Two sharp horns on a purple background ― the flag is the emblem of the demon race that once plunged the world into chaos.
Surprisingly, however, no matter what the family members thought, the soldiers were not afraid.
The reason lies in the other flag.
This flag depicted a white horse with a single horn growing out of a purple background. It was the banner of the great general Rox Van Levering, once called the “Five Generals of the Black Sky.”
The flag of a general who served the God of War. Even though they respected the army led by the descendant of the general, the soldiers of the Grantz could not be rude.
“Certainly… the seal of the fourth prince Hiro and the second prince Selene are stamped on it.”
The guard captain in charge of the border received the letter and examined it for anything suspicious. However, when he saw that the royal family’s seal was affixed to the letter ― and that it was written in their joint names ― he immediately broke into a salute.
“Her Majesty Queen Claudia, welcome to the Great Grantz Empire. You may pass.”
“I apologize for the inconvenience. I was in a hurry, so I hope you’ll forgive my rudeness.”
“No problem. I’m grateful to the Spirit King for allowing me to meet the descendant of Rox-sama.”
She smiled at the bowing captain and kicked the horse’s belly. The captain of the guard shouted uncharacteristically loudly at the back of the horse.
“Your Majesty Queen Claudia! If you’re going to stay here for a while, you can stay at the mansion!”
“I’m sorry, but I’m in a hurry at the moment, so I’ll just take your kind offer.”
Claudia skillfully maneuvered her horse and raised her hand to the captain of the guard to show her affection.
The guard captain sat down on the ground from the waist down as if he had lost his back in the face of that charming smile.
Claudia laughed happily as she increased the speed of her horse and headed for the front.
“Your Majesty Queen Claudia!”
One of her aides rushed her horse to the front of the group.
“Is there something wrong?”
“The messenger we sent to Hiro-sama has returned. It seems that the situation is not good after all.”
Claudia put her finger on the tip of her chin and slightly lowered her eyes. Then an aide presents her with a letter.
“I’ve got a letter from His Highness Hiro as well.”
She took the letter from him and looked it over quickly.
“Fufufu… you can think of something quite amusing, huh?”
Claudia smiled a girlish smile for her age and looked up at the sky.
“You intend to deceive everyone… Are you going to be a pawn for that? Really… you really are a horrible person.”
Claudia is shivering alone, and her aides are making quizzical expressions.
“Shouldn’t we stop cooperating after all? Wouldn’t it be better if we were to cut down the northern part of the country and build up our forces on our own?”
He didn’t understand the meaning of Claudia’s laugh, and when his aide asked a question, she glared at him with frozen eyes. It didn’t take long for the aide to realize that he had chosen the wrong words when he noticed that she was filled with such murderous intent that she could have killed him with just a glance.
Claudia looked away from the aide, who bowed down in panic, and raised one hand to the sky.
The purple crystalline stone glowed brightly in the sunlight.
“You can’t get much by jumping to such a short-term gain. Look at the big picture. Don’t look at the bait that is offered to you, but at the one who holds the bait that is offered to you.”
She formed a fist with her raised hand and pointed it in the direction of the Great Imperial Capital.
“This is the way for the demon race to survive. There is no king among us.”
In order to get the sun shining in the sky again, they must grab it with their own hands.
“Ara… You don’t look convinced, do you?”
The unhappy look on the aide’s face seemed as if he was afraid to say anything as if he knew it would upset Claudia.
“If you think that I am a dictator who does not listen to her subordinates, then leave this place right now. If not, then as a vassal, you will speak out to remonstrate with the ruler that she is wrong.”
“W-with all due respect… we do not have the power to fight the Six Kingdoms. With the current state of warfare, I thought it would be more… convenient to cooperate with the Six Kingdoms in some way.”
Claudia let out a sigh of dismay when she heard the words that were more unconvincing than she expected.
“It will only make you a puppet. Big favor over small favor, in order to make the Levering Kingdom an even bigger power, it will only be a loss if you follow the Six Kingdoms, right?”
“But wouldn’t it be the same if we lost even if we joined Hiro-sama?”
The aide persisted.
“In all honesty, the Six Kingdoms have no regard for the Levering Kingdom. They don’t see the value of a country that is located in the far north, where resources are scarce…”
There was nothing more irritating than to demean one’s own country, but Claudia felt that this was the best way to convince and inspire her aides.
“If we cooperate, we will only be used as a stepping stone and then annexed. It’s no different from a vassal state of the Grantz Empire. How can you ask your people to be slaves once again?”
The aide fell silent at the painful words. Claudia saw that and smiled.
“This is why we have decided to cooperate with Hiro-sama. We, the demon race, are going to use the Six Kingdoms to let the world know that we have returned to the central continent.”
The conditions that Hiro had offered were even better than that. If they followed the Grantz Empire, they would get what they wanted. It was a valuable item that could not be obtained by joining the camp of the Six Kingdoms.
“Very well, Your Majesty. I will follow all of Your Majesty Queen Claudia’s instructions. Please forgive me for asking such a trivial question.”
“No matter. If you have any doubts, you can always ask.”
Claudia looked up above her head, narrowed her eyes, and smiled lustily.
Now that she has become queen, she will never again allow the demon race to be relegated to the shadows.
Always under the sun ― if that’s the case, she’ll take it easy and make a name for herself as a foolish monarch.
The last sentence in the letter suddenly came to her mind.
All in one ― what on earth does that mean? Since it’s Hiro, it seems to have a deeper meaning, but she can’t think of anything now.
“Well… I guess we’ll find out when we meet, Hiro-sama.”
She would have gotten what she wanted by then. This is the reason why she moved her army like this because she had that condition.
“Even so… this is going to be fun. The times to come are unpredictable.”
Claudia struggled to hold back her laughter at the mayhem that was about to occur.