Here’s the chapter, enjoy~
The “Spirit Wall” that existed in the northern region of the Grantz Empire first appeared in history about 500 years ago.
According to the literature of the time, the security of the northern region deteriorated due to the increased activity of the “monsters,” and the lords organized a team to subjugate them and send them out to various areas.
However, a few months after they went out to defeat the “monsters,” they lost contact with some of the units.
The lords became suspicious, wondering if it was the work of night robbers or if they had been beaten back, but they did not think too seriously about it and set out to form a new force, mainly composed of skilled men.
However, they, too, were not heard from again.
From this point on, strange rumors began to circulate in the city.
People were disappearing from towns and villages night after night.
The lord received many such petitions from towns and villages in his territory, but since he needed manpower to defeat the “monster,” he simply responded to the petitions without any concern and left the matter to the next day’s meeting.
First, the lords organized an army to conduct a large-scale campaign to eradicate the “monsters.”
Although they were able to achieve some success in defeating the “monsters,” the situation did not improve, and in fact, the situation was getting worse day by day.
The lord was troubled as to what to do, but he received further sad news.
People were disappearing from small villages and towns without a trace.
The lord, who has decided that he could not handle this unprecedented event any longer, was prepared to be reprimanded and decided to ask for help from the central government.
Upon receiving a letter from the lord, the 22nd Emperor of the Great Grantz Empire took the seriousness of the situation very seriously and personally led an army of 20,000 men to the north.
However, when he arrived, he found the north in a state of disarray, with collapsed cities, deserted villages, looting, destruction, and loss of order.
The 22nd emperor headed for the city of the lord who was in charge, but even there, he was confronted with an unbelievable sight.
The streets were filled with corpses, humanoid “monsters” scavenging the corpses, and people wandering around with eyes as murky as the dead.
In fact, they all attacked them, and not a single one of them was in their right mind. This encouraged the 22nd emperor to burn the city to the ground, fearing the spread of the disease. He then set out to discover the cause of the disease, but along the way, a startling revelation was made.
The corpse devourers were originally ordinary “people”-in other words, residents of the vanished cities and villages.
The reason for their strange behavior and transformation is unknown, but they have lost their pride as a “human race,” and the 22nd emperor has named them the “flesh-eaters.”
However, as soon as it became clear that they were originally from their own people and not “monsters,” domestic criticism began to mount.
The 22nd emperor decided to seek help from outside sources.
The third princess shrine maiden who ruled the small country of Baum at the time.
The 22nd emperor received the oracle of the “Spirit King” from the third princess shrine maiden and succeeded in silencing the nobles, and then he launched a campaign to purify the north with a huge army of over 200,000 men.
In the process, the 22nd emperor succeeded in discovering those who commanded the “flesh-eaters.”
They were later known as the “Marked Tribe” because of the strange markings on their bodies.
The battle between them and the 22nd emperor was fierce.
The cooperation between the “Marked Tribe,” who possessed physical capabilities far superior to those of ordinary people, and the “Flesh-eaters,” who were like the dead who did not feel pain even if a part of their body was damaged, cooperated with each other.
The 22nd emperor invited the third princess shrine maiden to the north when the death toll was about to reach 30,000.
Then began the rapid advance of the Grantz Armies.
Under the direction of the third princess shrine maiden, and with the help of the “Spirit King,” and making full use of the abilities of the spirits, they succeeded in driving the “flesh-eaters” and the “marked tribe” to the western edge of the northern region.
However, when they saw that they could no longer eradicate them, the 22nd emperor and the “Spirit King” joined forces to sacrifice spirits in the western part of the north, and it was said that they refined a huge wall.
After that, the “Spirit Wall” became the border between the west, where humans lived, and the east, where demons spread―an “unexplored territory” where one could not return alive from.
Many people call such “unexplored territory,” which was covered by a perpetual blizzard, a hell.
“The security is so tight… it’s hard to even get in.”
The sky was covered in white, and there was one suspicious-looking man in a place where the sun doesn’t shine.
His brown skin, which did not resemble northern skin, was hidden by a winter coat, and his scarred face was covered by a hood. The man, whose tone of voice also gave the impression of being careless, hid in the shadows while keeping an eye on his surroundings.
His name was Munin, a subordinate of the “Black Dragon King” in the small country of Baum.
Munin let out a nervous breath, and a small light illuminated him.
“Old man… can you stop smoking?”
Munin complained, and the elderly man next to him smiled.
“I don’t know. You can’t even see it. It’s a blizzard today, and I don’t think people can distinguish the smoke.”
“But there’s a smell, though… a man with a good nose would recognize it.”
Munin, who had just poked his head out of the shadows, checked his surroundings and immediately sat back down in his original position.
Munin was tempted to knock off the cigarette held by the elderly man in front of him, but unable to do so, he held back as if he were swallowing hard.
“Good heavens… did I pick the wrong person?”
After infiltrating the northern part of the country, Munin had a hard time finding people to help him break into the “Spirit Wall.”
Then the man in front of him, an elderly man carrying out his belongings, lent a helping hand.
He demanded a certain amount of money, but Munin was able to break into the “Spirit Wall” with the man carrying his baggage.
First of all, he was surprised at the height and length of the “Spirit Wall.” It was so high that it reached 125 rou (375 meters) in length and 250 cells (750 kilometers) in width, so long that it was impossible to see the end.
At first glance, Munin realized that it was not a natural formation. But it was also impossible to artificially build a wall as thick as ice. Even today, it would be difficult, and Munin was very skeptical, thinking that the “human race” of the time would not have the technology to do such a thing.
Even so, seeing the real thing made him change his mind. The “Spirit Wall” reigned so majestically in the north that he believed that what was written in the literature was true.
Because of its existence, the people of Grantz never forgot their awe and worshiped the “Spirit King,” and it was one of the reasons why the surrounding countries knew the greatness of the Twelve Great Gods of Grantz.
The fortress of the Great Grantz Empire was located in the central part of the “Spirit Wall.” Although he had heard rumors about it, seeing it was quite different from hearing about it. Munin, who was peeking out from behind the cargo, was so astonished that his mouth was agape.
Such a precious impression was blown away by the lack of tension in the old man’s eyes.
“I’m grateful to you, but if you weren’t my guide, I’d have beaten you up.”
Munin swore, and the old man cleared his throat comically.
“You could have done it if I wasn’t your guide. But you seem to be a kind man, brother.”
“Well, thank you anyway. Here’s the rest of the money. Buy as many cigarettes or liquor as you like.”
Munin tossed the bag full of gold coins to the old man and smiled.
The old man looked at him with some surprise in his eyes as he saw the sack full of gold coins.
“It seems to be more than you promised.”
“I asked for it even though it would have put our life in danger. But thanks to you, we were able to infiltrate the “Spirit Wall.” I’m paying extra for it.”
“If that is the case… then I’ll take it gratefully.”
The old man put the bag in his pocket happily and then frowned suspiciously.
“After bringing you all the way here, what are you going to do now, brother?”
Munin’s expression became complicated when he was asked.
He could not tell the old man, whom he did not even know, the details of his important mission. If he told the old man, the old man would no longer be an irrelevant person.
It would be dangerous to stay here for a long time. He did not know when the soldiers on patrol would find him. He wanted to leave as soon as possible, but strangely enough, the old man’s question lingered in his ears.
After a long pause, Munin scratched the back of his head and looked down at the ground.
“I can’t go into details because of the circumstances, but… I’m going to do a little research, and then I’m going to leave right away. I’m not going to bother you, old man. So forget about me and get the hell out of here.”
Munin sat up with these words. But he was immediately stopped by the old man.
“You are a good man, but I warn you, if the five generals who are in charge of guarding this place find out about this, you will not get away with it.”
The guardian of the “Spirit Wall” was Hermes von Heimdahl, the head of the Heimdahl family, which was known as one of the three major northern families, and one of only five generals in the Empire of Grantz.
He was so famous that there was no one in Grantz who did not know him.
Munin had never met or seen him, but it was easy to imagine how powerful he was. He knew very well that this was not a position that could be filled by a weak man. If Munin were to confront him, he would probably be no match for him.
However, he must not misunderstand the purpose.
Munin’s mission was not to combat. Rather, his mission was to conduct research, including reconnaissance. Therefore, even if the opponent was one of the five generals, it was not impossible for him to escape.
And besides, Munin thought, but the old man interrupted his thoughts.
“Even so, even the five great generals are no match for old age. Ten years ago… no, twenty years ago, he would certainly be stronger than people say he is now.”
The old man sighed ruefully, stroking the beard on his chin.
“It is certain that we have made a mistake in the timing of the generational change. As proof of this, I heard the other day that one of the five great generals, the mighty Cain, died in Felzen.”
Bakish was in charge of protecting the west, Loing was in charge of protecting the south, and Cain was in charge of protecting the central. The impact of the loss of the five generals who had stood in awe of the Grantz, one after the other, was immeasurable.
“…That mighty Cain is dead?”
The old man cleared his throat in a funny way.
“Hah, his reputation as a strong arm is a thing of the past. Even his own people are now questioning his ability.”
Was there really any need to fear them? It was true that in other countries, they were beginning to be described with contempt as an honorary position. In their own country, they have been slandered by their own people as having tarnished the names of the five previous generals.
“All that is left is the old dog of the north and the fox of the east.”
The old man’s unafraid reference to the five generals caused Munin to tilt his head to the side.
“Do you have something against the Five Generals?”
The way he spoke, it was clear that he did not have good feelings toward them. This may have led him to cooperate with Munin. He thought…
“I don’t have any feelings about it. I was just stating a fact.”
The old man’s face wore an expression of dismay as he blew on his cigarette.
Feeling like he had been let down but intrigued by the old man’s story, Munin decided to sit down again.
“Have you ever seen the two of them, old man?―the mad dog of the north and the she-wolf of the east?”
The old man stroked his beard and growled as he mentioned the two names, which were not derogatory terms.
“Hmm, I know the old dog of the north well since he is the local five generals. But I know nothing of the fox of the east except for rumors.”.
Munin could not hide his disappointment.
There were too many mysteries about the five generals of the East―so he thought that if he could bring back some of their backgrounds, it might be useful to Hiro.
That was why he was so eager to stop and talk to the old man, but it turned out to be in vain.
“But the story of the east fox’s victory in the duel with her predecessor has been heard far to the north.”
The Fox of the East, or the she-wolf, appeared out of the blue a few years ago and overpowered one of the five great generals of the time by force. She was recognized by Emperor Greyheit for her abilities and was appointed as a new member of the Five Great Generals’ Army.
Since then, however, she had never appeared on the stage, nor had she responded to Emperor Greyheit’s summons.
Even so, she had not been stripped of her title as one of the five great generals, and she still flaunted her position as a great general.
One theory as to why the title has not been revoked was that it is due to the fact that she was assisted by the previous five generals. Munin wondered if she could really ignore the emperor’s summons for that reason alone.
Munin slapped his cheek as he thought about it.
This was not the time to be preoccupied. He had to find out what was going on at the “Spirit Wall.”
“It’s a pleasure to talk with you, but I’m going to freeze if I stay here for too long. I’ll be going now. Take care.”
Munin lifted his hand and sat up, reprimanding his body, which had hesitated to move for a moment because of the cold wind. The old man, seeing this, blew out his cigarette and let out a deep sigh of disappointment.
“Well, it can’t be helped. I don’t feel good about letting it go on like this.”
Munin turned around to see the old man standing there, sitting on the box.
The sight of him sent a shiver down Munin’s spine. He noticed an overwhelming sense of military might.
“It is true that I am an old man… but don’t treat me like one.”
There was no trace of the good-natured old-man atmosphere that had prevailed earlier.
Munin swallowed his spit and cleared his throat from nervousness.
His gaze remained fixed on the old man as if to say, If he looked away, he would lose his life.
The old man’s gaze was so powerful that it made him think so.
“My name is Hermes von Heimdahl.”
The man standing there was a warrior, a man who spent his entire life in battle, and his unique atmosphere was so intense that it melted the snow around him.
If he had been as skinny as a branch just a few moments before, he was now as fresh and animated as a large tree.
“My heart is warm right now. I’ll buy you a drink. So why don’t you talk to this old man some more?”
Hermes’ smile deepened as he placed his hand on the hilt of the sword at his waist.
“You wouldn’t turn down a small favor from an old man with a short life, would you?”
Munin smiled wryly as he wiped the greasy sweat from his forehead under the pressure of the old man’s request.
“I knew I shouldn’t have had a long talk with you…”