It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (73/104), enjoy~
Chapter 5 – The Sun Will Rise Again
Under the clear skies ― there was a group of horsemen riding briskly through the sunlit streets.
A lily on a red background was painted on their banner.
It was the flag of Celia Estrella Elizabeth von Grantz, the sixth imperial princess.
10th February, 1024th year of the Imperial Calendar. In the capital city of the Great Grantz Empire, Cladius, Liz was returning with a small group of guards.
People looked back to see what was happening, but her back was already too far away to see.
The echoing roar of horseshoes left a reverberation everywhere along the way, but it ceased once they reached the imperial palace. Liz jumped off her horse and headed for the entrance of the imperial palace.
However, the door opened first, and a familiar figure stepped out.
“My dear sister. You’ve come back safely!”
“You didn’t go back to the east?”
Liz jumped into Rosa’s chest with her arms outstretched and looked up at her sister.
As Rosa awkwardly averted her face and scratched her cheek, Liz narrowed her eyes and backed away from her sister.
“I heard about Hiro from the head of the Muzuk family.”
“I see… so there’s no need to hide anymore.”
Rosa let out a tired sigh, looked up at the sky, and began to mutter clerically and indifferently.
“It’s all the truth. I’m sorry that we deceived you, but it was all necessary for you to take the throne.”
Liz closed in on Rosa.
She frowned at the envelope that Rosa suddenly presented to her.
“My lord gave it to Liz.”
Rosa smiled as if she was troubled as Liz took the letter from her.
Then she looked around and opened her mouth.
“Where is Ghada-dono?”
She asked Liz, but she seemed to be too busy reading the letter to hear her. Another chuckle escaped Rosa’s lips, and Tris came over to see whether he had heard her.
“The Raven Army is coming with the Fourth Emperor’s army. Of course, the Muzuk family’s army is also coming with us.”
“Oh… so you’ve succeeded in persuading the Muzuk family to join?”
“They will reach the Great Imperial Capital in about a week.”
“The soldiers from other regions are gathering in the capital one after another. It looks like we can finally fight back.”
Rosa patted Liz’s head happily, but she was still concentrating on the letter and was left to her own devices. She took her hand away from Liz’s head and pulled out a separate letter from the one addressed to Liz.
“I wanted to give it to Ghada-dono as soon as possible…”
She shook her head as if she had no choice but to hurry.
“That’s right, Liz, are you hung――!?”
Rosa’s words were cut off in mid-sentence, and her beautiful eyes suddenly widened. This is because there was no sign of Liz in the place where she had just been.
She looked around hurriedly to find her and found that she was just about to jump into the saddle.
“Liz! Where do you think you’re going? Hold on!”
Rosa shouted unusually loudly, but Liz was turning her horse’s head and would not stop.
“Tris-dono, you have to stop her too!”
“Yes! Princess! P-please wait!”
The two of them ran towards Liz’s back, but there was no way they could catch up to the horse with their human legs.
As soon as they see it, they are separated from each other. Rosa continued to call out to Liz during that time, but she stubbornly ignored her, not even looking back.
“You’re not going by yourself, are you? Damn it; if that’s what you’re planning to do, I’ll stop you with all my might.”
She clicked her tongue and stopped in her tracks. Realizing that she couldn’t catch up, she thought about moving her troops to capture Liz. But there was no need for that.
Selene appeared leisurely in front of Liz, who was galloping at high speed.
“I’m trying to stop you, you know, Liz? You’re being too reckless!”
The blood drained from Rosa’s face as she recognized Selene’s figure with his arms outstretched. There was no sign of Liz slowing down her horse. On the other hand, Selene doesn’t seem to have any intention of giving way either.
A horrible scene appears in Rosa’s mind, but there is nothing she can do about it.
Even as she ponders, the distance between them is closing.
And then ― they collide.
A violent cloud of dust rolls up. Due to this, she was unable to grasp the situation.
The dust was blown away by the wind in front of Rosa, who hurriedly approached the scene.
The next thing she saw was a surprising sight.
It was not the sight of Selene being hit by a horse, nor was it the scene of Liz falling off her horse and fainting in agony.
Rather, she was being pinned to the ground by Selene. The horse, which had lost its rider, was whinnying anxiously, turning its head around, seemingly unaware of what had happened.
Rosa, too, was filled with confusion, but she stroked her chest and began to walk, relieved that he could stop Liz for the moment.
As she closed the distance between them, she could hear their conversation drifting through the wind.
“I didn’t want to hurt the horse, so I had to take a rough approach.”
“That should be my line. Right now, we should wait for the nobles to arrive from all over.”
Liz put all her strength into trying to escape the restraints, but Selene didn’t move an inch.
Liz was astonished. Her physical abilities have been enhanced by the “blessings” of the Flame Emperor, one of the Five Emperors of Spirit Swords. An ordinary person should be no better than an infant in this regard. And yet, no matter how much effort she put into it, she could not free herself from Selene.
“Step back! Selene-Aniisama! I have to go!”
“Liz, I know how you feel, but let’s calm down first.”
Liz glared at Selene, who tried to warn her with a smile.
And Liz’s eyes moistened when she saw Hiro’s letter shimmering at the edge of her vision.
“There is no way I can calm down! Get out of my way!”
Liz tried to hold back her tears and failed. Tears flowed down her cheeks and onto the ground, dampening the soil.
“Ugh, hey, please let me go to the west…”
Liz pleaded with Selene, letting out a sob.
Selene’s eyes twisted sadly as he recognized his sister’s painful appearance.
“I can’t do that. If I did that, his resolve would be wasted.”
“I don’t need his resolve… Let it go to waste!”
“You’re probably confused, so I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that gibberish. We have to wait until we have the strength to do it. It’s the only thing we can do.”
“If we wait, Hiro will die! I can’t let that happen!”
The murderous intent of Liz’s body is increasing in pressure to an uncommon degree.
Selene’s face was tense as he restrained her, perhaps because her power was getting stronger and stronger. But even so, Selene pushed her to the ground with all the strength he could muster.
“Is that what the letter said?”
When Liz nodded hesitantly in response to Selene’s question, a shadow fell over their heads.
“Liz… please respect my lord’s decision.”
Rosa bent forward and gently stroked her sister’s cheek.
“You too, Anee-sama! Why didn’t you stop Hiro?”
“Even if I could have stopped my lord, the Great Imperial Capital would have been besieged by a 200,000-strong army by now.”
Considering the speed of the invasion of the Six Kingdoms, the prediction was not wrong. If the Great Imperial Capital were to be surrounded, its authority would be destroyed.
The reinforcements gathering from all over the world would have no place to go, and the Grantz Empire would have collapsed.
There would also be a betrayal by the nobles in search of their own interests, and some would even turn to other countries.
In fact, an investigation has shown that many of the central nobility are linked to the Six Kingdoms. It seems that they were originally linked to the Krone family, but the First Prince Stobel solidified it.
“My lord, he went into battle to expose those people. If they stay hidden, there’s nothing we can do. He said that if we show them an opening, the traitors will bite us.”
“…But that doesn’t mean why should Hiro have to sacrifice himself?”
Liz, who had lost the will to resist, was released from Selene and sat on the ground.
“He was the best person for the job. For the enemy, the descendant of the God of War is a great way to increase their prestige, and for the traitors, he is a nuisance. However, there was no way that they would easily turn tail on him in a straightforward attack. That’s why my lord bought himself as a decoy.”
“…..isn’t that too much to go on. Hiro didn’t have to use himself as bait.”
“I know. But we have to trust him now.”
Rosa put her arm around Liz’s shoulders, her eyes red and swollen, and held her close.
“It’s okay. I’m sure my lord will come back alive. He would return with his usual aloofness. We can’t trust a letter written by a naughty young man.”
Rosa’s voice trembled as if she were saying to herself.
Behind her, Selene stands idly, looking at his sisters.
“…..is this a prank?”
Selene frowned and tilted his head at Rosa’s words and actions.
However, he quickly smiled to mend the situation.
“Go back to your room and get some rest. Liz is probably tired from running in so early.”
“Right… get some rest first. Then we’ll talk again.”
With Rosa pushing her back, Liz turns her feet towards the imperial palace.
The gait is heavy and unsteady, so weak that it looks as if she might collapse at any moment.
The old soldier, Tris, bowed to Selene and followed the girls.
Selene responded by raising his hand and looking after the girls.
“Hmm… I wonder what it is. I can’t get it off my chest.”
He tilted his head and wracked his brain, but no answer came out.
Sighing in resignation, Selene approached the horse that Liz had left behind.
“Driks, are you there?”
“Yes, I’m here.”
Driks, who had been hiding in the blind spot, appeared as if in the shadow of the horse.
But the sudden appearance of Driks didn’t seem to surprise him, and Selene stroked the horse’s neck and mumbled a few words to himself.
“Have you received anything from Hiro?”
“‘I have a letter for you, sir.”
The brown envelope slid across the ground and stopped under Selene’s feet. He pretended to pick up the reins and the envelope at the same time.
“Do you think my uncle knows about this?”
The brown envelope contained a single letter with a brief message.
“I reported it to him, so he knows.”
“Hmm… he would have checked the contents. My uncle loves to snoop, you know. Did he say anything to you?”
There was a pause ― a moment of hesitation for Driks, but the meaning behind it was profound.
“…He’s notified everyone that he’s going to start the plan.”
“It is just typical of him, but… there is something wrong with this.”
Selene tilted his head, eyeing Hiro’s letter with suspicion.
“I’ve been able to verify the content, but I haven’t tampered with it in any way. What’s so strange about it?”
“Well, I can’t say for sure. At the moment, it just feels strange.”
Selene shrugged his shoulders with a wry smile and headed towards the imperial palace, pulling the horse.
“I’m going to see my uncle first. He might be plotting to undermine the stability of the north.”
“I don’t believe Gils-sama would do such a thing…”
Driks complained, but Selene did not listen to him and turned his fierce eyes on him.
His right eye ― the one with the golden color ― made Driks stand still there, forgetting to hide himself. And then he sat down as if his back was shattered.
And then ― Driks held his throat and began to suffer.
“A-agh… W-what are you… doing?”
As if he had run out of oxygen, Driks face turned red as he watched.
“I’m just venting my anger to you. But if you get too carried away, I’ll kill you next time.”
Selene tapped Driks on the shoulder happily, and Driks began to breathe frantically as if he had been relieved of his suffering. A large amount of sweat poured down from his face and was sucked into the ground.
“It’s all one ― if this is true, then my uncle is…”
Selene begins to walk with a grim expression on his face as he rereads Hiro’s letter.
The sun is setting. Along with the deep, piercing wind.