Chapter 6 – The Three Great Ones
“Mmm? What was that shock…?”
The noble district, lined with the residences of the high-ranking nobles who reside in the royal capital of Heim.
Lloyd was walking there with a number of royal knights and two rescued people while keeping an eye out for Edward, who was still nowhere to be seen.
“Your Excellency Glacier.”
A young boy walks right behind him.
His name was Reel Augusto, the younger brother of Krone.
“Hey, Reel! I told you earlier not to talk to them so easily because they are in the middle of their mission!”
Reel was rebuked by Harley, the current head of the Augusto family, who was also rescued.
“Hahaha! I don’t mind! Well, what’s the matter? Reel-dono.”
“Tell me about my mother and grandfather.”
“Harley-dono. You don’t have to be so angry. As for the question, as I told you when we entered Archduke Augusto’s mansion, both of them are living in our home country of Ishtalika. As for Graf-dono, he is now one of the country’s most famous and powerful men.”
Reel’s words were a bit imprudent.
However, Lloyd, sensing Reel’s sentiment, responded warmly. Listening next to him, Harley also showed his relief at the tone of Lloyd’s voice.
“I’m curious. Why don’t you ask about Lady Krone?”
“I don’t think there is anything to worry about when it comes to that sister of mine.”
Reel’s answer silenced Lloyd.
The royal knights were also silent, and the next moment they all burst out laughing at once.
Lloyd laughed out loud, followed by the royal knights.
“Kukuku… good gracious, they are indeed a family, Lloyd-sama.”
“That’s true. Certainly, if it is Lady Krone, there is nothing to worry about.”
They tried to be merrily sympathetic.
But the cheerful atmosphere was coming to an end when one of the royal knights noticed something unusual in the city.
His smile fades, and his gaze immediately turns to the royal castle.
“Lloyd-sama! The Royal Castle of Heim is collapsing…!”
As the sight of the slowly but surely crumbling castle caught Lloyd’s eye, he panicked and worried about Ain’s safety.
“Everyone! Bring the two of them to a safe place! I’ll rush to Ain-sama’s side──”
He would protect him, even at the cost of his life. There was still a danger of enemy soldiers, but it was about time.
He was about to turn on his heel when he heard a voice.
“I won’t let you go. You barbarians are doomed to rot here with us. And even if you return to your ship, that person has prepared a trump card for you.”
Suddenly, Edward appeared and was enveloped in a thick, shimmering red aura, just as he had been during the three-on-one fight.
He seems to have completely regained his posture.
“But… that collapse is not on my schedule. I, too, must go see what happened at the castle.”
So, he’s not going to take it easy.
In front of the spear, which was held silently…
Lloyd let out a breath.
The worst of the situation makes him want to hold his head, but giving up is not an option.
“──Lloyd-dono. Everyone, please run away. This is a matter for which we, the nobility of Heim, must take responsibility.”
Harley stood in front of Lloyd with trembling legs and said.
“Ahhhh… isn’t this an inspiring story? This is exactly how one should behave on stage.”
Edward was delighted by Harley’s words but let out a laugh when he saw Harley’s trembling feet. Even the child Reel’s fear of approaching death is only one source of excitement for Edward now.
But Edward wants more.
“But it won’t end like this.”
Suddenly, Edward disappears, and the next moment he thrusts his spear into a royal knight’s neck.
His eyes widened as if his eyeballs were about to pop out, and blood spurted out of his neck as he gasped for breath.
(Ridiculous… he is even stronger than the previous battle…)
There was not much time to be surprised.
Edward, who had shown his poor performance in the previous battle, was furious.
Twisting his body, he kicked Lloyd in his injured arm and then struck him in the torso with the butt of his spear, sending him flying.
“Wait! You bastard!”
“Everyone, protect Lloyd-sama!”
“Gghh… no need for that! You stay there and protect the two of them…!”
After stopping a royal knight who was about to join him, Lloyd stood up unsteadily.
“My name is Lloyd! Lloyd Glacier! My body, my sword──all dedicated to the great Ishtalika! Destroy me if you can! Red fox!”
Despite his proclamation, Lloyd’s stance was wobbly.
His feet also looked sore and worn out, and it could be said that he was… on the verge of his death.
“That’s what irritates me… you lowlife! With one arm crushed and one eye missing! With a body that’s wracked with wounds all over! I don’t like your head thinking there is a chance you can beat me!”
In addition to the dry sound of the sky being ripped open, there is a momentary kicking sound on the ground.
Just as Lloyd thought he heard Edward breathing in his ear; the next moment, the tip of Edward’s spear swung down at Lloyd’s neck…
“Don’t make light of meeeeeee!”
Edward was confident.
With this, Lloyd’s head fell off, and all that was left to do was to quickly kill the royal knights and, while at it, kill the two members of Archduke Augusto’s family, and that would be the end of it.
Despite this… the results betrayed Edward’s imagination.
“Wha… do you still have that kind of extra power…?”
The newly procured Lloyd’s sword and Edward’s spear clash with a powerful metallic sound.
After blocking the spear with a reaction speed that could almost be described as divine, Lloyd looked at Edward with a look of satisfaction on his face.
“Kuh… I’m not dead yet!”
However, Lloyd was overwhelmed by Edward’s physical strength and was blown away.
After being blown up twice, Lloyd’s physical strength is on the verge of breaking down.
The royal knights’ screams of grief reached his ears. But now, Lloyd could not afford to care about them.
And that’s when it happened.
“Oh… what in the world is that…?”
Edward stopped his pursuit… and looked in the direction of Archduke Augusto’s mansion at the far end of the noble district.
“The Great Tree, huh?”
Then Lloyd follows Edward’s lead and looks at it.
Both were somewhat in a daze, but Edward suddenly burst out laughing in a good mood.
“Hahahaha…! It looks like we’ve won! That probably means your crown prince… has fallen into that person’s hands!”
“What nonsense? It is not strange, is it? That person even tamed the Demon Lord Arche. A mere crown prince of a different race is no big deal for her.”
These were very, very convincing words. Lloyd’s body was drained of strength, and instead, despair filled his entire body.
“I see your heart has finally been broken. I’ve always wanted to see that look on your face.”
With a grin, Edward took one step at a time, this time slowly closing the distance between them.
Having already fallen to his knees and lost his will to fight, Lloyd felt a heaviness in his eyelids and cast his eyes down.
He shuddered in frustration at the thought of his country and the crown prince.
But there was nothing more he could do. There is no sense of accomplishment, but this is it.
There he waited for the spear to pierce his body.
“Are you giving up?”
Suddenly, a voice arrived from a different direction from Edward’s.
The voice was clear yet powerful, and it was a gentle and mature voice that encouraged people to rely on it.
“…Yeah. I can’t move anymore.”
There was no other sound. The castle collapsed, and the knights were fighting.
The only sound was the silent atmosphere.
“Hmm. If that is the case, then you are disqualified as a loyal retainer. Since you’re giving up, it will bring the lord you serve one step closer to death.”
“Hahaha… that hurts my ears.”
“You are discouraged because you believe what your enemies tell you rather than what you have seen with your own eyes. This is the height of folly that cannot be compared to anything else. But if you can regret that your ears hurt, then your loyalty is not yet dead.”
Lloyd wanted to cling to it. To that voice and to the great vessel that comforted him.
He continued to listen to the voice as he turned his head… and it made him feel like he had to go one more step.
“One last piece of advice from this old man. Even if your limbs are cut off, grab on to your enemy as long as you have life. Bite into them. Lean on them. It is only when you live that one second that loyalty shows its value.”
“…Yes, you’re right. I am glad to hear it before I cross over into the afterlife.”
A metallic sound echoed in front of Lloyd’s eyes as he replied.
The distinctive sound of heavy armor walking is transmitted, making Lloyd think──a new enemy has arrived.
The armor stood in the way of Lloyd and the royal knights, as well as Harley and Reel, as if protecting them, and spoke to Lloyd with a smiling tone in his voice.
“Do you know what kind of world the land of everlasting life is?”
“…I don’t know, but in my case, it would be a world full of regret, a world of pain and sadness.”
“Since you seem to have misunderstood, let me tell you what it is.”
His voice startled Edward.
“Wha… why… why are you here?”
Edward unconsciously backed up slightly, step by step, and opened and closed his mouth like a fish.
“The everlasting land was quite warm. Drifting in it is my happiness, my end. I thought it was my rest after hundreds of years of service.”
“Don’t be ridiculous… I didn’t invite you! You do not belong on my stage!”
Edward shouted, but the voice of the loyal knight continued to reach him.
“But you wanted me. After hundreds of years of service, you have given me a new role. I can think of no greater honor or reward.”
A deep and wide pulse spread through his body.
It was reddish-black, intense, and complex.
The hideous armor that built up his entire body trembled with fury.
“──For that! It is my loyalty to answer! My chivalry!”