September 27, 1026th year of the imperial calendar.
A huge ruin spread out under the clear sky. It was the former royal capital, Scheue, which was once touted as the most beautiful city in Felzen.
Bodies were piled up in the square where people used to relax, and the streets where merchants used to trade with each other were stained reddish black with dried blood. The magnificent streets had been reduced to rubble, and no trace of the old days remained. Ravens now flew about, emaciated wild dogs roamed about, and rats jumped out of the gaps between the rubble.
Aura was walking along such a badly foothold street.
“I still can’t find Her Highness anywhere.”
Aura reacted to the voice filled with impatience and turned her head to her subordinate walking next to her.
The main Grantz Army, which had occupied the former royal capital yesterday, was currently hurrying to reorganize.
The resistance of the Six Kingdoms was more fierce than ever, and as expected, they could not be unscathed.
The damage to Grantz’s army was less than 10,000, and for the Six Kingdoms, the death toll was over 30,000.
Realizing that they could not win, the Six Kingdoms opened the gates and launched an assault. In a situation where they were surrounded, they took what could be called reckless measures.
The result was as expected, but most of the corpses were “human” soldiers.
There were only a few bodies of the long-eared people―they managed to escape by sacrificing the humans.
Sympathizing with the “human” soldiers who were used as decoys, the Grantz advised them to surrender, and the “human” soldiers on the Six Kingdoms’ side must have lost their will to fight. They simply threw down their swords and surrendered. The number of prisoners of war was close to 10,000, but there were so many wounded that it took time to treat them, and the reorganization was much later than planned. Because of this, the plan to pincer Anguis, which controlled the western side of Felzen, was becoming pointless.
Aura, of course, was impatient, but if she showed it, it would cause uneasiness among the Grantz soldiers.
Liz was also doing her job without showing her impatience, but before long, she was missing.
“It is possible that she is back at the palace.”
“I hope so…”
If she went up the hill with her subordinate, she would reach Felzen’s palace, which was once home to the royal family of Felzen. The palace where the royal family of Felzen once lived was set up as the command center, but it was filled with blood, grease, and a strange smell, and although there were remnants of what would have been a beautiful palace, it had been cruelly destroyed.
If it had been so thoroughly destroyed, reconstruction would still be faster if the rubble were removed and rebuilt than if it were repaired.
Aura appeared at the command center and stopped one of the officials.
“Have you seen Her Highness Celia Estrella?”
“No, she hasn’t been here today…”
Aura put her hand on her forehead and shook her head in distress.
A candidate for the next emperor was missing, and from a historical perspective, this was not unprecedented. There have always been one or two free-spirited people in the Grantz imperial family; more than one hand can count. The first of these was probably the founder of Grantz, the first emperor. However, just because there had been similar figures in the past did not exonerate them. Aura held her temples and pointed her finger at the soldier, whose face was paler than before.
“We need to send out a search party around the perimeter right away, and since there are still remnants of the enemy, we can’t feel safe even if we occupy the area.”
Aura, who had seen the soldier’s back off, crossed her arms, tilted her head, and groaned.
Liz disappeared alone.
Normally, she should be looking for her with bloodlust, but considering her ability, she honestly wouldn’t be in any danger. However, she was an imperial princess who was about to take on the responsibility of a country.
They should avoid any rash actions.
“Hmm? No, no way… alone?”
One possibility came to Aura’s mind, but even if only one person went, the war situation would not change.
Still, Aura sighed deeply again, unable to dismiss the possibility.
“…I have something to ask you.”
Aura approached one of the officials.
He was the official in charge of the reorganization.
“What is the number of troops that will be ready to go out immediately?”
“…..Around 10,000, ma’am.”
“Then let us head down to the Third Army as an advance force.”
“Are you going to spread out our forces here?”
“We have no choice. The situation is urgent.”
They must take all the other measures they can.
“I’m mad at her. I’m really furious.”
Aura was indignant as she scolded Liz. The official was surprised and cowed by Aura, who was revealing her anger.
“Aura-sama! I have a report for Aura-sama!”
Aura’s eyes, which unusually contained anger, pierced through, and the person who was calling her name stopped in his tracks.
He was Lawrence Alfred von Spitz. He belonged to the “Imperial Black Knights” and was once Aura’s close aide.
“Her Highness asked me to give this to Aura-sama.”
Aura immediately accepted the letter, and as she read it, she clicked her tongue.
Then she looked at the official.
“…Pretend that what I said earlier never happened.”
“Huh? Are you sure?”
“Yeah. There is no longer any need for it. Let her do what she wants.”
September 29, 1026th year of the Imperial Calendar.
The battle between the Third Army of Grantz and the Army of the Six Kingdoms entered its third day.
On the first day, the Six Kingdoms continued to fight with all their might, but on the second day, their movements began to slow down.
On the third day, the Third Army of Grantz was pushed back by a fierce attack.
The front line was being pushed so hard that it almost reached the “Raven Army’s” main camp, which had been built in the rear.
The front line was in turmoil, and a cloud of blood covered the field of vision. Every time a shout of rage was exchanged, many lives were trampled down. The soldiers of both armies threw away their dignity and self-respect, desperately swung their swords to protect their own lives, and leaped like beasts at the enemy standing in front of them.
“This is not good.”
Hiro, who was watching from the main camp of the “Raven Army,” expressed his dismay at the inadequacy of the Grantz forces.
The disadvantage in numbers was unbearable, but even so, the opponent took the trouble of going along with them to stall for time. Perhaps they were overconfident in their own strength, but when the attack was launched at full force, the Grantz forces became confused and lost in comprehension. The war situation changed from moment to moment. It couldn’t be the same as yesterday. The higher-ups in the Third Army of the Grantz Army may have gained strange confidence after the third day of fighting against 50,000 troops, but they had become complacent. This led to the current situation.
“You can never let your guard down in a war…”
Having made the judgment that the commander of the Third Army of Grantz was incompetent, Hiro rose from his chair.
“Skaaha, can I leave the main camp to you?”
“Yes. You go out there and fight with everything you’ve got. Don’t worry about us.”
Skaaha replied strongly, raising the “Ice Emperor.”
Hiro responded to her with a complicated smile.
“I’ll leave it to you. Fight as you like, with no regrets.”
“Yeah, I appreciate it.”
Turning his back on her as she looked away with a smile, Hiro called out to Luca.
“I’m going to the front. You’re ready, right?”
“Yes, no problem. I am always ready.”
Hiro straddled the swift dragon and headed for the front, weaving his way through the gaps between the soldiers.
On the way, the leader of the thousand cavalry came running alongside him.
“Your Majesty, we are ready. We can leave at any time.”
“Alright… then, let’s push back the front line.”
Once they reached the front of the thousand brave men who were lining up, they could see the front line clearly.
The Third Army of Grantz had a large hole in the center.
The Six Kingdoms Army had entered through the hole and was trying to break through the Third Army from the inside.
Hiro pulled out the “Dark Emperor” at his waist.
“Raise the flag!”
The flag of the Black Dragon was raised along with the flag of the balance of the small country of Baum at Hiro’s command.
With the tip of his sword pointed toward the front line, Hiro inhaled.
“Take them all―charge!”
The “Raven Army” of 1,000 men, including Hiro, rushed forward with great vigor―all on horseback.
Passing the disorganized third line, overtaking the collapsed second line, and reaching the destroyed first line, Hiro jumped off from the back of the swift dragon.
He then grabbed one of the Six Kingdoms’ soldiers by the throat and cut off the head of the enemy soldier who was coming up behind him. A spray of blood colored the world. The enemy soldiers retreated with their eyes peeled, but Hiro pounced on them mercilessly.
“What happened to the momentum you had just now?”
The overflowing fresh blood stained the ground red, and the repeated trampling created muddy black mud.
When such overwhelming power was displayed, any ordinary person would be frightened. Just because it’s war doesn’t mean that everyone was in it to die. Not everyone wanted to face it, but it was not something that could be ignored. Against an opponent who possessed the power of a monster, it was necessary to confront someone who had the same power.
“It’s been a long time…”
The voice came from behind the wall of soldiers surrounding Hiro.
Like a wave breaking, a gap appears in the wall of soldiers. Two figures walked majestically through the gap.
“Is ‘Black Dragon King’ correct for now?”
Lucia Revere de Anguis, Queen of Anguis.
“We meet again, don’t we?”
Nameless, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Greif.
“Ah, I’ve come to pay you back.”
When Hiro said that, Lucia looked around.
“The situation is similar to that time.”
The “Raven Army” of 1,000 is fighting the Six Kingdoms far in the rear. The situation was certainly similar to when Hiro feigned death in battle.
“Not really; I’m not going to take it easy on you like I did that time.”
“I see… that―but this battle is mine to win, you know?”
Lucia pointed with her fan at the rear of the “Raven Army,” even further behind the main camp.
A fierce cloud of dust rose, and at the same time, a cry was heard. The upheaval was carried through the air to Hiro’s location.
A violent sound that should not have been possible reached him.
Hiro did not look back once but adjusted the position of the mask with his right hand.
“…It looks like it’s going to be tough back there, too.”
A large amount of dust was being raised from the main Anguis camp.
Because both Grantz and the Six Kingdoms were only thinking about prolonging the battle.
Hiro laughed. He laughed with a truly joyful smile.
“I had to play a few tricks on it.”
Hiro had spent three days attacking the second line of Anguis’s army while breaking off his troops into small pieces. It rallied at another location, and on the third day, he let it go around behind the main Anguis line.
“It’s more fun this way, isn’t it?”
“Ha, I see we’re all thinking the same thing.”
“Not only that, look to the side.”
Hiro turned his hand to his right. The eyes of Lucia and the others were drawn in that direction.
The Anguis soldiers groaned. They were looking at the crest banner of the Great Grantz Empire.
“The main Grantz Army has arrived.”
“…It’s just the flag, isn’t it?”
Lucia dismissed it as a child’s trick. Her gaze remained fixed on Hiro, and she showed no signs of dismay. She calmly took in the situation and concentrated on the enemy in front of her. It was a very impressive performance, even from an enemy’s point of view.
“You are right.”
Hiro applauded. But the horror of this plan was yet to come.
“If everyone understands it, it won’t work. It doesn’t matter if you’re the only one who knows about it. Shall I upset you a little?”
The commander, who had seen through the plan, was glued to the floor by Hiro. Even if he could give instructions, it would only be to those around him, so even if he raised his voice to convey the message, it could cause unnecessary upset to the entire army if it was received strangely. There was nothing more fragile than an army that has fallen into a state of doubt and suspicion.
Lucia clicked her tongue as if she understood what he was explaining to her.
“…Very clever of you..”
But Lucia’s triumphant face never wavered.
“Right, I wanted to ask you something.”
Lucia began to fan herself with her iron fan and smiled in an endlessly provocative manner.
“I had an unusual attendant before. Was that a spy you sent?”
A powerful killing intent swelled up in response to Lucia’s words. It was not from Hiro but from further back.
At that moment, the place where Lucia was standing caved in.
Shaking off the dust, Luca came out.
“What have you done to Hugin?”
Luca glared at Lucia, who had evaded her attack with a vicious look more terrifying than a demon’s. Brushing the dust from her clothes, Lucia smiled glamorously at Luca.
“Again and again. A woman who was born into royalty but always used as a toy?”
Having lost all sense of reason, Luca leaped at Lucia with the agility of a beast.
Nameless appears in front of Hiro, who was watching the battle between the two from a distance.
“Then, shall I be your opponent?”
Nameless tapped his tin cane on the ground. The decorated bell made a pleasant sound.
Hiro looked at the tin cane and readied the “Dark Emperor.”
“I don’t mind. I’ll play with you.”
“Oh, by the way, don’t you mind Black Dragon King?”
Hiro wonders at Nameless’s aloof attitude as if making small talk.
“The enemy appeared in the rear of the Third Army of the Grantz. I believe the main camp of the “Raven Army” was located there.”
“Don’t worry. I’ve entrusted it to someone I can trust.”
When Hiro said so, Nameless’ mouth, which was hidden from view through his hood, arched up.
“Then, shall I tell you the name of the commander who attacked the “Raven Army”?”
“…I’m not interested.”
But Nameless’ character would not keep quiet.
“The one who ambushed the ‘Raven Army’ was Urpeth―the commander’s name is First Prince Stobel.”
He really did have a dehumanizing personality. He had a bad taste for dropping bombs after a lot of information and impatience.
“…I take back what I said before. I’m a little intrigued.”
“Well, that’s very nice to hear.”
“I’ll play with you in return.”
Hiro put the blade of the Dark Emperor on his shoulder and pointed his hand at Nameless as if to provoke him.