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Everyone says that the Great Grantz Empire was the supreme power of the central continent―the pinnacle of the “human race.”
There were very few countries that defy the Grantz, which had reigned at the top of the central continent for a thousand years.
Therefore, the tyranny of the local nobles was noticeable.
The arrogance of those who enjoyed peace led to a decline in their momentum, and the spark that had been smoldering had grown so large that it had become unmanageable. The surrounding countries began to move under the surface, eager to destroy the Grantz.
The numerous small-scale and large-scale battles that have ensued―wars that have been fought over and over again―have significantly reduced the country’s power.
As a result, the neighboring countries, which had been exploited as prey for a thousand long years, were now ready to bare their fangs, surround the waning lion, and devour the fat stored up in the lion’s den.
That said, there was little the people who ran the country during Grantz’s reign could do.
They only had the means to pray for victory in the war, and they repeatedly spent their days waiting for the safe return of their sons and husbands who had gone to the battlefield, prioritizing living for today over the uncertainty of tomorrow.
October 10, 1026th year of the imperial calendar.
Cladius, the capital city of the Great Grantz Empire, was the ideal home of the “human race,” commonly referred to as the “Great Imperial Capital.”
The symbol of its prosperity was not the numerous historical buildings but the central street that was the main entrance to Grantz.
Rare local products from all over the world were brought here, and they were sold in a row of stores across the street.
In addition, the statues of the Twelve Great Gods of Grantz, towering over the busy central street, show off the greatness of Grantz.
They watched over the people and inspired awe in visitors from other countries, imprinting awe in the hearts of the rulers of each nation.
Before the wonder had even cooled, look up at the front of the city, and you would see the Imperial Palace Venetian sitting in the center of the city.
Despite its 1,000-year history, the grandeur of the palace had not diminished in the slightest, and it showed no signs of deterioration over the years.
Rather, as the years went by, the mystique was emphasized, and the solemnity was enhanced, creating a new charm and showing others the might of the Grantz.
On the east side of Venetian, the residence and training ground of the elite “Knights of the Golden Lion” of the First Imperial Army, the guardians of the Imperial Capital, was set up, and normally noisy noises could be heard, but on this particular day, it was quiet.
It was no wonder because the “Knights of the Golden Lion” were currently participating in the plan to recapture Felzen in accordance with the sixth princess. Therefore, the army stationed in the Imperial Palace Venetian at present was the army of Eastern nobles led by the Kelheit family, one of the five great noble families.
Their leader, the Prime Minister of the Great Grantz Empire, who was also the acting head of the Kelheit family, was walking around the west side of the Imperial Palace Venetian―the residence where the mansions of the nobles stand in a row.
A woman was walking down the corridor. Her expression was somewhat agitated.
Yet this did not detract from her charm. Those who deride her as a “fox lady” who wielded her power through cunning would be shocked to see her now, and they would turn their backs on her.
There were soldiers standing guard at regular intervals in the corridor, but when she passed in front of them, they frantically followed her back with their eyes. She was within arm’s reach, but they were not allowed to touch her or talk to her.
She―Miste Cagliara Rosa von Kelheit―was the acting head of the Kelheit family, one of the five great noble families, and the Prime Minister of the Great Grantz Empire.
“Where are you, Cerberus?”
With a face like a mother searching for her lost child, she quickly opened the door to the room, checked inside, and moved to the next door.
“Where did she go…?”
Rosa put her hands on her hips in annoyance and stopped the patrolling soldier.
“Have you seen Cerberus?”
The soldier shook his head nervously at the mention of the name, or rather, at being approached by Rosa.
“No, ma’am, I have not seen her today.”
“I see… Sorry for interrupting your duties.”
Rosa said in a dignified manner, and the soldier bowed his head repeatedly and left.
After seeing the soldier off, Rosa brushed her hair out of her face and looked out the window.
“It’s almost dinner time…”
She thought of her lovely sister’s beloved pet―the beautiful white-haired Cerberus―in her mind.
A sacred animal said to live in the Eastern Isles, east of the central continent.
Only royalty was allowed to keep this noble white wolf―for whatever reason; it came to Liz when she was very young.
Liz came to the small country of Baum, east of Grantz, with the previous emperor, Greyheit, when she was a child and found Cerberus washed up on the shore.
Cerberus appeared as if to save her from losing her emotions due to the shock of mourning her mother.
Liz took care of the injured Cerberus in a caring manner, and when she saw her running around in good spirits, she was finally able to regain her smile. From then on, like sisters, Liz and Cerberus have nurtured their friendship to this day.
Although they had always been one and the same, Liz realized that the battle to recapture Felzen would be a tough one and left Rosa to take care of Cerberus.
Rosa remembers well that the emotional white wolf looked disapprovingly at Liz’s back.
“What if… she went after Liz?”
Rosa thought that much but shook her head.
Cerberus had been told repeatedly by Liz. She would never break that promise.
She was an intelligent wolf.
She understood human language, realized emotions, and acted with her own will.
That’s why the concern was that she was following her…
“Even if she traces the scent, too many months have passed. It would be impossible for Cerberus to follow the scent.”
More than three months had passed since Liz left the Great Grantz Empire.
As expected, even the smartest of individuals couldn’t track her.
She would not have the intelligence to memorize geography.
No, Rosa just didn’t know, but she may have a brain close to that of a person…
In any case, white wolves did not inhabit the central continent. Since no comparison exists, the ecology of Cerberus was not well understood.
“Then… where is she?”
Rosa pondered, but no good ideas came to mind, so she started walking aimlessly.
She thought about grilling meat in the courtyard to lure her out by the smell, but the fact that she did not come when she called out her name also meant that Cerberus was not in the compound.
“Should I send out a search party…?”
It would be unlikely that they would find her, but one never knew unless one tried everything.
Above all, if Cerberus was not present when her sister returned, it would be frightening just to imagine what would happen then.
“…I doubt she’ll be back yet, though.”
The plans of the Great Grantz Empire―it’s not going to be easy if one looks at the end of the line.
The next time they would meet was next year or the year after, and the future was nothing like the night sky covered with clouds.
That was why it was frightening. That was why it made her think about it.
The worst possible outcome―to avoid it, even now Liz’s camp was searching for the best way forward.
“But hopefully, if Liz returns… she will take over the throne of the Grantz.”
The preparations were being made.
The greatest peace that can be brought to the Great Grantz Empire had yet to show any stability.
Without the people, there would be no country. However, a country cannot exist without its emperor.
The previous emperor’s death, Greyheit, could no longer be concealed.
“For that reason, we have to take back Felzen, and once we have what we need, no one will object.”
It was only a matter of time.
When the pus of a thousand years erupts, the world would transform.
No one will be a stranger.
No human being had the means to resist the fate that they would be forced to be a part of.
Whether they cry, scream, get angry, or laugh, there was only one destination.
“Only God knows what the outcome will be…”
Even with all the scheming and intrigue, things don’t always go according to plan.
The greed of dozens, thousands, and tens of thousands of people were involved.
There was no way to know who the goddess of victory would smile on.
“No… it might be the devil who smiles.”