It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (98/116), enjoy~
A large number of soldiers were running in crowds to the mansion of the Kelheit family.
Many bonfires had been lit in various places, making it as bright as midday even as the world was enveloped in darkness. A number of shadows watched the scene from the city walls. A presence thicker than the darkness and thinner than the flowing air gazed down with a pouting face.
“Did we fail…? I never thought they would leave the Ice Emperor behind…”
As he muttered in the night breeze, someone else spoke up from next to him as well.
“What should we do? Shall we take care of it ourselves?”
“No, no need. It’s only a diversion. Our purpose lies elsewhere.”
Prime Minister Gils let go of the object he was holding in his left hand. It rolled around on the ground with a sticky sound that lingered in the ears forever.
“There is no time to waste. Let’s get going.”
Prime Minister Gils turned on his heel and began to walk.
With all eyes drawn to the Kelheit mansion, the security of the imperial palace has been thinned. We will be able to reach our destination undisturbed.
Accompanied by several shadows, Prime Minister Gils proceeded to trample down the moonlit road. Even though there was no rain, the ground made a sound like mud, eating away at the silence of the night.
“May I ask you to take me with you?”
Even in the darkness, there was a mighty presence, a figure walking toward them with a golden light.
Prime Minister Gils responded with a casual, easy-going raise of his hand.
“Well, well, well… Second Prince Selene, what are you doing here so late at night?”
“That should be my line. What are you doing here, Uncle?”
With a refreshing smile, the second prince Selene put his hands on the hilts of the swords on his hips.
His smiling face was filled with supreme energy as if he would not let them go any further.
They stopped their steps and stared at each other.
“May I ask what you’ve been up to with these mysterious people?”
“I’ve been fraternizing with them.”
Selene raised his eyebrows when he saw Prime Minister Gils outstretched his arms.
However, without pointing out the discomfort, he looked around.
“…They don’t seem to be very friendly to me.”
There were about five hooded people surrounding Selene.
“Yeah, you haven’t even introduced yourself yet. I guess that’s inevitable.”
“I see, so they should have introduced themselves, too, right?”
The moonlight shining into the ground exposed the area around Prime Minister Gils.
The whole area was stained red. No, it was black and eerie as it mingled with the soil.
There were more than just one or two dead bodies. The people that had been horribly cut up and left on the ground numbered more than double digits.
With a smile on his face, Prime Minister Gils pointed to a head on the ground. It was the head he had been holding in his hand a moment ago.
“It’s the fault of the second-rank military officer, Driks. If he hadn’t been so inquisitive, his life wouldn’t have been taken.”
“Their patriotism was nurtured by you, wasn’t it?”
The corpses lying on the ground were members of an organization called the “Secret Neck,” an assassination squad that Prime Minister Gils had nurtured with great care.
“You people go ahead, I’ll take care of this one.”
Prime Minister Gils looked at the group of hooded men around him, and they disappeared without a sound. The second prince Selene did not show any signs of chasing after them. He was looking at Prime Minister Gils with a bitter face.
Clearly, the atmosphere had changed.
A dense magic power condensed around Prime Minister Gils, binding him as if he were trapped. In the face of the immense power that burned his skin, the second prince Selene had no choice but to concentrate on the enemy in front of him.
“Oh, by the way, you wanted to know why I destroyed the Secret Neck, didn’t you?”
As if to say, “Let me answer that,” Prime Minister Gils looked up at the night sky with an arrogant attitude.
“I ended them myself because their position would have been worse from now on.”
He looked at the second prince Selene again, and his face was distorted.
Joy, delight, rapture, and ecstasy ― his face was contorted as if he was enjoying everything in this world. Joyful heaven, joyful earth ― so bright that it was out of place, he was laughing as if he was about to dance.
“Isn’t it a parental duty to kill them?”
The second prince Selene lifted the corners of his eyes grimly in displeasure.
“What is your purpose ― or rather, who are you?”
“Do you think I will tell you?”
“I’ll make you talk. I will do everything in my power to avenge Driks and the others.”
With quiet anger, his supremacy boils over like ripples on the water. A torrent of immense power, an irresistible killing spirit, creaked the space.
“Our enemy has appeared… “Gan Jiang and Mo Ye.””
[TN: Gan Jiang (Chinese: 干將; pinyin: Gān Jiàng) and Mo Ye (Chinese: 莫邪; pinyin: Mò Yé) were a swordsmith couple, discussed in the literature involving the Spring and Autumn period of Chinese history. Some aspects of this material may be considered historical; others are certainly mythological. A pair of swords was forged by and named after them. ]
When the second prince Selene pulled out his two swords, Prime Minister Gils wracked his neck in annoyance.
“It seems that you are serious?”
“Of course, let’s go out with style. If I run out of steam, the elites of this country will hear the commotion and rush here immediately.”
“Are you a pawn? Like that man?”
“No way, I can’t be like him. I don’t like to lose.”
The unchanging will to not give in flows loudly from the second prince Selene.
Prime Minister Gils snorted wildly. He put his hands on his hips and let out a heartfelt, exasperated sigh.
Prime Minister Gils stripped his entire body of all emotion.
There was no emotion on his face as if he were looking at an insect.
“Do you know about the demon womb?”
A huge amount of magic power gushed out, splitting the sky and gouging the earth.
“Embrace the fear, cry out in alarm, and scrutinize the threat.”
The ground shattered, the space cracked, and the supreme energy of the world swelled.
“Throw the world into a panic ― “The Creation of Heaven and Earth.””
The atmosphere trembled.
The heavens choked as they cracked, and the ground cracked as if begging for it. Chaos begins to consume the world.
“My name is…”
“I don’t need to hear it!”
The second prince Selene ran across the ground, kicked down the distance, and swung his two swords with fierce force. However, the attack was easily repelled, and the tip of the spear scratched his cheek.
“…..Be honored by the King’s generosity in dealing with his servants.”
“I’ll take the title of ‘King Slayer’ for that!”
The second prince Selene wiped the blood from his cheeks and unleashed a fierce second blow with all his might once again. The man who intercepted him had a look of joy on his lips as he took a calm and composed stance.
A moment later, the two collided violently.
The sky roared unbearably in the face of the ferocious storm, and the ground cried out, unable to absorb the impact.
March 21st, 1024th year of the Imperial Calendar.
The camp of the Levering Kingdom was set up in the corner of the main camp of the Grantz Empire.
Hiro’s tent was also set up there.
In the middle of the tent, Hiro was staring at a map spread out on a desk.
Nearby, Claudia was elegantly quenching her thirst with a cup of tea.
Also present were a man dressed as a traveling merchant and the captain of the Queen Elite Guard, who served as Claudia’s aide. Claudia called out to Hiro, who repositioned his pieces on the map.
“It seems that we will be placed in the central army.”
“We’ll be in the rear as an independent army, though. The commander is Aura, so there is not much cause for concern. If there is any concern, it’s the commanders on the left and right who command the walls of the central army of the Grantz.”
When Hiro said that, he shifted his gaze to the parchment on the edge of the desk.
The names of the commanders are written on it.
Claudia’s interest was piqued as she peered at the parchment and opened her mouth.
“I heard that the commander of the right army is a man named Bassianus… do you know him?”
Hiro chose his words as he groped through his memories.
“I’ve only met him once, at a banquet.”
He was a general belonging to the eastern nobility, a man who fought with a ferocity befitting the military state of the Great Grantz Empire. He has not made any significant achievements, so it is likely that his family of origin has helped him rise in his career.
“The second-in-command is a calm person, so I think he will manage the right army well.”
Rather than that, there is one thing that concerns him.
What on earth happened to Rosa, the acting head of the Kelheit family? Originally she should have been the one in this position. In addition, the second prince Selene also seems to be absent, which gives Hiro a strange feeling of uneasiness.
Claudia called out again to Hiro, who seemed to be in such an uneasy mood.
“The second-in-command of the right army is… Decius Etor von Bunadhara, huh?”
“He’s Aura’s father. He has no experience in leading large armies, but he is the man who raised the War Maiden, so he should not be inferior to her. I don’t think it was a wrong choice.”
The left army of the Grantz will have nothing to worry about.
Aura’s position as Chief of Staff was taken away, and Vetu is now in command.
He may be dissatisfied, but he’s not the kind of person who’s going to give in to a situation like this.
His second-in-command was Luzen Kiork von Grinda.
Claudia tilted her head at Hiro, who smiled happily at the mention of Kiork’s name.
Claudia tilted her head.
“No, I was just thinking how high he has risen. He’s Liz’s uncle.”
“That’s also… a dangerous thing to do with a family member, isn’t it? Is there a problem with the command?”
“In the past, he’s only fought small battles, but he’s a solid fighter. I think it’s a safe choice for this fight.”
It’s not that Kiork has any outstanding achievements. It would not be surprising if people thought that he was taking advantage of his position as the uncle of the sixth princess.
In order to eliminate such dissatisfaction, he must show his ability.
(I hope he will do his best…)
Once he makes a name for himself, there will be no problem. If he becomes a warlord who is said to have gained fame from that battle, no one will complain and will follow him in silence.
“Do you think this battle is going to be easy?”
“I don’t know. It depends on the enemy’s commander.”
Lucia handed over the command to Luca and left the place.
Although there is no way to know everything about Luca, when Lucia acted as acting commander, the management of the army was superb. When it comes to managing a large army, it would be better to think that the enemy is a cut above.
This was the first time Liz and Aura have led a large army. The fact that this was new territory for them was a cause for concern. If that’s the case, the central army will be the key to this battle.
“So, what are we going to do?”
The one who said solemnly was the captain of the Queen Elite Guard.
He is a military man of solid character and integrity, with a spirit that will not tolerate injustice.
It is strange that such a person is following Claudia, but there must have been something that tugged at his heartstrings.
“I intend to faithfully follow the orders of the Grantz.”
After Hiro’s words, the captain of the Queen Elite Guard turned his attention to Claudia.
When he saw that Claudia nodded silently, he fell silent, as if the Queen had approved. Then Claudia took over the words.
“Do you intend to follow orders, even if it means losing the war?”
“Yes, I intend to.”
This war is an excellent opportunity to witness Liz’s growth. In the past, Hiro had taken her work away from her.
The situation was beginning to improve, but it still felt like she was growing too slowly.
(Originally… Liz would have awakened much earlier.)
The cause of the delay was him.
Hiro was also filling in for what was originally Liz’s role. By not being too generous with her abilities, he stunted her growth.
And this was the result of accepting her indulgence and taking too much care of her talent.
(Standing next to her and fighting… sounds good, but it won’t help her get over the wall)
It is only when they become equal, determined not to be defeated, no matter who they are, that they can stand next to each other and fight. If one is satisfied with just catching up, one cannot grow.
(Drawing a tiger is like drawing a dog… I was not a good example.)
There is no point in just copying. It’s not just about imitating them; it’s about understanding them and incorporating them into one’s own life.
As Hiro moved away from Liz, she would gain an understanding of the meaning, not just imitation.
Eat the strong, then eat the next strong enemy, then eat the champion. In this way, after overcoming many corpses, what awaits is an immovable throne.
(The high road ― those who can make merciless decisions will rise to the top.)
Claudia laughs when she sees Hiro’s thoughts unfolding.
“You are overprotective, aren’t you?”
Hiro cowered without answering and then looked down at the map again. Then Claudia wrapped her arms around Hiro’s waist and hugged him.
She pressed a soft object against his back and began to speak, breathing into Hiro’s ear.
“You say you will follow them faithfully, but you have your own tactics in mind.”
Claudia wriggled her hands seductively and crawled over Hiro’s upper body.
“You’re worried, aren’t you? You must be anxious. Why don’t you just be honest?”
When Hiro didn’t answer, Claudia pressed her stringy nose against the back of his ear and let out a warm, heartbreakingly sweet breath.
“Now you have a plan for when the girls fail. You say things that push them away, but if they are in danger, you will try to rush to them, even if it is all in vain.”
With a lusty gesture, as if caressing, Claudia traces her lips down Hiro’s neck. The captain of the Queen Elite Guard looked on appalled, and the traveling merchant looked uncomfortable. But Claudia didn’t care and continued to speak.
“You’re so single-minded. It makes me jealous.”
“You care too much.”
Hiro turned his body away from Claudia and looked at her.
“They’re not that weak. She’s probably no weaker than I am.”
People are creatures that grow. There is no such thing as stagnation as they age, although individual differences exist.
This war will be a great leap forward for them. They will gain fame, increase their wealth, and increase their power.
(You’ll need a stepping stone to get there. That’s the only reason I exist.)
Hiro begins to walk. Claudia called out to him as he walked away.
“Where are you going?”
“I’m going to take advantage of the night breeze.”
Without waiting for Claudia’s reply, Hiro left the tent and found the area enveloped in darkness. The lights from the bonfire flickered in the night breeze. Sparks scattered from the firewood that had burst.
The unreliable light danced with a masked expression of nothingness, creating shadows and emitting heat.
Hiro dropped his gaze and looked at his own hands.
His hands were bloodstained ― he had put countless people in his hands.
(Rey… I’ve been blessed.)
Looking up at the sky, the stars were twinkling in the sky.
(Altius is here, you are here, and many friends have supported me.)
They gave a hand to a naive, helpless man who knew nothing.
(Maybe that’s why I couldn’t deal with it… after I lost you.)
It’s still the same today. Hiro smiles bitterly at himself.
(But when I was summoned back to this world, I found someone to protect.)
Hiro reached out his hand, unable to reach the full moon, but still desperately continued to reach out.
(I’ve found the world to protect.)
It was different from the past when he could not grasp the heavens.
Once he had abandoned it, he might be ridiculed for what he was doing now.
Now that the opportunity has presented itself again…
(If you can, please laugh at my ridiculous appearance.)
I hope you can see how it ends.
Please, please, please watch me laugh at my defiance of fate.
That’s all Hiro wished.
(That day, that time, that happiness…)
Hiiro pressed his chest and let out a small breath.
(I will return it to you through her.)
――Until the time when this body rots away.