It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (129/130), enjoy~
In the palace of Garza ― in the throne room, a banquet was being held, oblivious to the strange happenings in the city.
Everyone had a silver cup filled with wine in their hands, and their arms were wrapped around the necks of their amorous partners. The other arm was positioned around the waist of a different woman.
Their cheeks were uniformly red, their movements were slow, as they indulged themselves in intoxication.
“Speaking of which, Senator Phalaris… I heard you got another new hostage?”
“Yeah, the last one was too much for me, so I broke them. So now Senator Perillos’ family is staying as “hostages” in my mansion. Well, except for the son, who I sold to a slave trader.”
“So when he returns home from the war, he has only his son.”
“He must be rather moved and pleased to know that his legitimate son is safe and sound.”
Such conversations are repeated everywhere. In other places, there were even people who gathered the “hostage” children of good families in one place and sold them on the spot. Some tortured them with the pleasure of a new toy, while others took them to a corner of the room for a taste. The drunken ones knew no limits. Tomorrow morning, several corpses would be removed from the throne room.
But there was no one to blame. Torkil, who was entrusted by his lord Utgarde to look after the palace, also felt somewhat comfortable in this space where the cries and shouts mingled together.
“No one is hurt when someone mentions the word corruption. Because this is the privilege of those who have reached the top.”
The strong laugh, and the weak are tortured. This was the natural order of things, and this was a natural scene.
If you don’t want to be in the same position, you must always be on the winning side.
“Senator Phalaris, please don’t forget about what we discussed.”
Torkil whispered in his ear, and he nodded his head in an exultant manner, his face in a good mood.
“You have given us such a banquet. I will certainly advise Utgarde-sama to welcome you into the senate when he returns in triumph.”
“I am relieved to hear that. In return, I will give you a sturdy hostage later.”
“Kuku, I’ll be looking forward to it. But then again, you are also a worrier.”
Senator Phalaris, shrugging his shoulders in dismay, looked up at Torkil.
“Have I once broken my promise to――!?”
A lukewarm liquid splashed onto his face, and Torkil touched his own face in dismay.
“What… the hell is this?”
He looked down at his sticky, reddened hands and then at Senator Phalaris, who was covered in brain fluid.
There, his vision was enveloped in a cloud of dust ― and screams were heard from all around him.
The sound of shattered dishes rang out.
The sounds of trampled foodstuffs and cries of agony reverberated in the throne room.
“S-shit ― anyone, guards?!”
Torkil exclaimed, simultaneously falling to the floor. Then something whizzed past his head.
The dust made it impossible to see anything. But the sound was clear. Around him, confused people were hurriedly moving about, and their very loud screams added to his uneasiness.
“First of all, I have to do something about this dust…”
Torkil stood up with determination and started to run, picturing the structure of the throne room in his mind.
The goal was the large window leading to the balcony ― if he could open it, he would have a clear view.
Torkil stepped through the eerie feeling in the soles of his feet and sometimes pushed a figure that appeared in front of him. Then, without slowing down, he ran in a straight line and slammed into the window. With a loud thud, the double-glazed window was opened, but the glass was broken by the impact. Torkil rolled on the balcony.
Looking inside, dust swirled around the ceiling like a tornado and was sucked outside. At the same time, the aromatic smell of grape wine scattered on the floor and the scent of rusty blood filling the floor mingled together, creating a nauseating stench that irritated the nostrils.
“…what are you doing here?”
Torkil let out a voice laced with astonishment when his vision cleared completely.
In the throne room, surrounded by a large number of corpses ― the leading figures ― lay with expressions of despair on their faces.
In the center of the room was a man holding a jet-black sword that seemed to embody the night, and his pure white cloak, unblemished by the horrific scene, was dancing in his hands.
It was as if the sun kept floating even in the middle of the night.
“White Night King…”
Oddly enough, it means the opposite of his name.
Torkil’s eyes are seared with the image of a man standing in the center of the hall, on top of a corpse.
――It was the image of a “king” reigning over a sea of blood and pieces of flesh.
“Black Dragon King, you bastard, what are you doing here?”
Torkil shouted angrily, and what he got in return was a scornful laugh.
The Black Dragon King raised his shoulders exaggeratedly and opened his arms.
“No, I thought I’d join the banquet…”
As the Black Dragon King turned his head, Torkil also checked the room.
The survivors were hiding in the shadows, their faces stained with tears and snot.
Seeing them, the Black Dragon King smiled kindly, as if out of place.
However, there was an eerie presence behind the smile, as if he was hiding something sinister.
“If the country is ugly, the banquet is also ugly, and I can’t even attend it in this state.”
“Don’t be ridiculous! You are the one who did this!”
There was no need to question him. The slashes on the corpse and the calm demeanor of the Black Dragon King were all evidence of this. Then, with anger swelling in his heart, Torkil stomped on a fallen apple and drew his sword from his waist.
“What are you angry about? About the ugliness of your banquet?”
The Black Dragon King asked in a questioning tone, but his words were definitely filled with provocation.
“You must be… insane to kill our people in such a heinous way.”
Tolkir put his feet on the floor and glided to close the distance between him and the Black Dragon King.
The smoothness of his footwork was so smooth that it gave his opponent no discomfort, and his quiet movements were magnificent.
“Don’t put yourselves on the shelf. What about the hostages of other races? What have you done to the same dwarves’ hostages?”
The Black Dragon King pulled a piece of paper out of his pocket and began to read.
It listed what the elected army had done, how many sacrifices they had made to maintain their power in this country, their crimes against their own people, persecution of other races, slave trafficking, and so on.
“Shut up! What do you know?”
Torkil stared at the Black Dragon King in disgust, frothing at the corners of his mouth.
“You know nothing about our country. In this country, the elected army has the right to do anything. But you are from another country. If you do this, the other countries will not remain silent, and you know what will happen to a small country like yours, which will disappear in an instant!”
His reply was a cold smile. The Black Dragon King’s face was filled with black emotion.
“Unfortunately, your hope will not be heard. Sooner or later, this was destined to happen. The people will judge you, burn your house, and kill your family. I merely hastened it.”
Torkil’s expression of doubt came to his face as he responded in a way that seemed to mesh but didn’t.
After laughing at Torkil, the Black Dragon King put his hands over his ears and closed his eyes, which were sunken deep into his mask.
“Look, can you hear it? It is creeping up on you…”
A thunderous sound was heard.
A powerful explosion shook the air, but it did not come from within.
“――It is the footsteps of the collapsing Nidavellir.”
One, two, three, and four explosions, which showed no sign of abating.
Torkil turned around involuntarily. He leapt out of the window he had opened onto the exposed balcony.
The influential people who had been hiding rushed to the balcony to see what had happened.
――The city was on fire.
The city, which had been submerged in darkness, was now emitting an enormous amount of light and bursting into flames with a one-time flamboyant flare.
The Black Dragon King threw a sneer at the backs of the confused dwarves on the balcony.
“No one will think that I am responsible for the armed uprising by those who escaped from the forced conscription. You had it coming.”
The Black Dragon King ― Hiro, who was walking as he spoke, stopped when he reached the throne.
“――Scorch yourself with the flames of the karmic fire that you brought upon yourself.”
Without hesitation, Hiro sat on the throne, his gaze fixed on the woman standing at the entrance.
“Luca, kill the rest of them.”
The crowd on the balcony turned around with a perplexed look on their faces, no doubt because they had heard the words.
But before they could leave the balcony, Luca reached the window, and with a mighty swing of her arm, she pulled out the Vajra. The poor five or so influential men in the back row were struck with a powerful blow.
The sound of flesh exploding through the air was heard.
And then, a distant scream, as if some of them had fallen off the balcony, unable to withstand the storm.
Luca’s body was also taken away by the momentum of the Vajra, but she pulled herself back up with her abominable physical strength, and the doubled destructive power was concentrated on the influential people again.
A scream and a groan filled the hall, and the Vajra was immediately launched into the sky.
Luca raised her Vajra above her head for the last time and struck a fierce blow to the balcony.
The influential people stared at the cracked balcony, their mouths twitching. Their spirits were broken by fear. They formed a complicated expression, like a half-smile. Luca gave them a florid smile.
At the same time, the balcony collapsed, and the influential people disappeared into the darkness that dominated the ground.
Luca tilted her head and peeked out the window, the border to the sky, at the ground with her feet close together at that point.
There was Torkil, his hand on the window sill in a desperate gesture. The wind was driving him, and he was about to fall, but when he saw Luca, who looked pleased, Torkil’s face contorted as if he were about to cry. He must have thought he was going to be dropped, but Luca let go of the Vajra and grabbed his wrist, pulling him up.
“The toy was alive.”
Torkil was slammed hard to the floor. He grunted in pain as he exhaled the oxygen in his lungs, but Luca tossed him off the floor as easily as if he were a plaything.
He rolled to the front of the throne, hitting his head repeatedly on the floor.
Luca stomped on the floor, approaching and grabbing Torkil’s leg, who was in great pain.
What he thought of Luca, who looked down at him with a blank expression on her face, was evident on Torkil’s face. He stretched his arms to the limit as if to escape. However, the fear of death made him forget the pain, and he clung to Hiro’s leg with a tear-stained face.
“I’ll think about it if you’re worth keeping alive.”
“Equivalent exchange. Offer me something for the life you now so desperately seek to chain together.”
“I-if you save me, I’ll make sure you get out of this country in one piece! The palace guards will be here soon. I will persuade them to let you escape safely!”
“…Look outside. Do you see the city burning? Do you really think the guards will come to the rescue of a bunch of people making a fool of themselves in a situation like this?”
“T-that’s… t-then! I’ll give you the treasure. I’ll tell you where the treasure is that the Utgarde-sama has stored up! It’s so great; there’s enough treasure to buy a city or two!”
“Unfortunately, there is none left.”
Hiro dropped a contemptuous smile at the stunned Torkil.
“We needed the money to stage an armed uprising.”
In fact, some of Utgarde’s treasures were transported to Hiro’s treasury for later use.
(Spoils of war for the victors ― much to their credit.)
But there was no need to tell Torkil about that fact.
“Since it was originally something you took from the people, I suppose you could say that I gave it back to the people.”
Hiro kicked Torkil in the face as he clung to his leg.
Torkil’s nasal bone broke, and blood gushed out. He grunted, holding his face in intense pain, but then realized that Luca was dragging him, and he clawed at the floor desperately.
But that would not be enough to stop it. Torkil pulled away, leaving his peeled fingernails and drawing ten thin blood trails on the floor.
“I’ll do anything! I’ll change my mind. From now on, I’ll put the people――”
Torkil could not finish his sentence.
Hiro was glaring at him with an expression so cold and impassive that he could almost be described as cold and stern.
“…Go into the abyss with your repentance in your heart.”
“A-ah, n-no, I don’t want to die… I don’t want to die――”
Torkil disappeared into the darkness, where neither moonlight nor city lights could reach.
“S-stop, no! Gaaaah! Higii!?”
What followed was the sound of bones breaking, the echo of a shrill scream, and the eerie sound of flesh tearing, tingling in the ears. Mixed in was the sound of a woman’s giggle. It was a woman humming a tune, like a housewife happily cooking a meal.
“Come over here, you dwarves hiding in there!”
Hiro turned his eyes to the darkness on the other side where Torkil had vanished and let out a few words.
There was no reply, but he could feel a tremor in the presence of fear.
“If you don’t come out, I’ll kill you.”