The headquarters of one of the five great noble families, the Scharm family, was located in the center of the northern part of the country, in the White Silver Castle.
The head of the Scharm family was Bizan Gils von Scharm―former Prime Minister of the Great Grantz Empire. However, he was assassinated three years ago during the attack on the Imperial Palace Venetian by bandits―or so it was ostensibly announced.
However, the second prince Werewolf Scharm Selene von Grantz, believed that he may have been replaced even before that.
However, the disappearance of former Prime Minister Gils was an undeniable fact, and the Scharm family’s dominance in the north declined. If the second prince Selene was still in good health, it would have been possible to tighten the faction.
However, the second prince Selene was also wounded in an attack by bandits, and he went into a recuperation period.
Overlapping with this was the breakthrough of the sixth princess Celia Estrella, the rise of the Eastern nobility led by the Kelheit family, and the glory of the Levering Kingdom―the northern nobles were dismayed by the rapidly changing situation.
Should they switch factions or maintain the status quo?
However, with the loss of the two great leaders, the main families to whom they should look for direction are unreliable. The Bromel family suddenly began to move to rearrange the power structure in the north while the Scharm family remained paralyzed.
However, the Scharm family did not simply sit idly by and watch their faction shrink. In the absence of the head of the family, the Scharm family devised a variety of measures to counteract the Bromel family.
However, they were unable to turn their disadvantageous situation around, and before they knew it, most of the leading nobles had switched sides to the Bromel family.
Recently, however, the Bromel family suddenly began to slow down.
“There have been suspicious movements in the Levering Kingdom.”
In the throne room of the White Silver Castle, a woman made a report without hesitation.
Next to her, a young man kneels down on one knee and bows his head to the second prince Selene.
“The army is too active. If they see an opening, they will surely bite.”
She was Proditos von Heimdall, one of Selene’s proud twin wolf generals.
Next to her was Proditos’ brother, the remaining twin wolf general, Helma von Heimdall.
He turns his bitter face toward the second prince Selene.
“The Bromel family is similar. They’ve gathered soldiers from all over and are planning something, though I don’t know if it’s connected to the Levering Kingdom…”
“I see… but my guess is that the Levering Kingdom and the Bromel are not connected.”
As soon as word got out that the Levering Kingdom was gathering troops, the Bromel family began to slow down. The same was true of the turned-over nobles, who had been so active, but suddenly went quiet. Frankly speaking, it was a great relief.
Thanks to this, the Scharm family’s existence was prolonged, and Selene could concentrate on healing his wounds.
“Whatever the purpose, it’s still thanks to the Levering Kingdom. My wounds have healed. From now on, I have no intention of letting the Bromel family do what they want.”
Sitting on the throne, Selene stroked the eye patch covering the right half of his face.
“I can’t deny that my body still feels a little sluggish, but I still made it in time.”
“Is your eye all right?”
At Helma’s question, Selene shrugged his shoulders.
“This is the first time I’ve ever had my eye gouged out, you know.”
Three years ago, a group of bandits attacked the Imperial Palace Venetian.
Selene lost a lot that day.
His uncle, former Prime Minister Gils, had spent his life building an intelligence unit, the “secret neck,” and it was destroyed. In addition, Selene was defeated in a battle with bandits and was seriously wounded, even losing his right eye.
“I’m still getting used to the distance, but I think I’ll be fine.”
“Can’t Kanshou and Bakuya* repair your eye?” [T/n: Kanshou and Bakuya: Gān Jiàng and Mò Yé (干将・莫邪, Kanshō – Bakuya?) are “married” twin swords representing Yin and Yang, crafted by the blacksmith Gān Jiàng (干将, Kanshō?) of Wu during the Spring and Autumn Period of China.]
“I don’t have that luxury. Thanks to them, I could shorten my bedridden life by several months.”
Selene smiled, and two swords appeared in his hands.
The sudden appearance of the swords did not change the expressions on Helma and Proditos’ faces. They were used to seeing them. They were familiar with the existence of the mysterious weapon in their master’s hand.
“I’m sorry to keep you waiting, Kanshou, Bakuya. Will you still lend me your strength?”
In response to Selene’s words, the two swords beat with a shimmering ripple.
After nodding his head in satisfaction, Selene looked at Helma and made a serious expression on his face.
“How’s the preparation going over here?”
“Everything is in order. I’ve delivered the letter from Selene-sama regarding the Bromel family, but I haven’t received a response yet.”
“Maybe that means they don’t want to discuss it.”
“Maybe. The number of northern nobles coming and going from the Bromel family is increasing, and it seems that they no longer intend to respect the Scharm family as their lord.”
“Selene-sama, brother, if you entrust me with 10,000 men, I will show you how I will destroy the Bromel family.”
Selene could not help but laugh at Proditos’ belligerence.
It was true that she was a woman of great power, more than an ordinary person. He understood the background behind her confidence.
She was that strong, even stronger than her brother, Helma―her adaptability to spirit weapons was tremendous. Still, as to whether she could win or not, he would have to say that she would probably lose.
“Proditos, I want you to stay here. I want you to fight beside me.”
He smiled at Proditos, who was bowing her head with her cheeks happily stained and looked at Helma next to her, who was patting his chest in relief that his sister’s outburst had been stopped in advance.
“What about the Heimdall family?”
“I have made contact with the main family. If the Bromel family intends to turn on the main family, they said they would send an army at any time. But…”
Helma’s words were crisp as if something was bothering him.
“The movements of the flesh eaters and the marked tribe are becoming more active, and depending on the situation at that time; there is a strong possibility that reinforcements will not be coming.”
“That can’t be helped. Even though the Scharm family is destroyed, the priority is to defend the Spirit Wall. Even if we win, if the Spirit Wall collapses, it will be the same as our destruction.”
“After all, we have no choice but to take Her Highness Celia Estrella’s word, don’t we?”
Proditos interrupted their conversation. Helma’s face is filled with bitterness, but he does not deny it. He probably thinks that being stubborn in the current situation is not an option.
That is how dangerous the situation surrounding the northern region is.
“No, we can’t do that.”
“Why not? I don’t know much about the character of Her Highness Celia Estrella, but I have never heard any bad rumors about her. Just because she helped the North, I don’t think she would demand anything from us?”
Proditos bit down, and Selene smiled with a hint of bewilderment.
“The main force of the Grantz is in the Felzen region. A large-scale invasion operation―I heard that more than 100,000 soldiers had been deployed. They have that many men. They must have assumed that they would invade as far as the Six Kingdoms. Even if we asked them for help, it would be an act of dragging them down.”
Although the mainland of Grantz was not exactly deserted, it still did not have the luxury of lending a helping hand to the north.
Above all, there were no outstanding generals left in the central, west, and east due to the fact that the most famous generals were accompanying Liz.
If there had been five great generals, the guardians of the Grantz, something might have changed, but Bakish, who was said to be a genius, lost his life in the battle against the Six Kingdoms, and Loing, who was said to be a battle maniac, committed suicide by leading a rebellion.
The powerful Cain, who took part in the recapture of Felzen, was also said to have been killed in battle, and the lack of strength in the Grantz cannot be denied.
“The five great generals in the north―Hermes―cannot be moved from the Spirit Wall, and the other five great generals are left in the east, but Rosa will not move anyone easily with the home country so thin on the ground.”
The south also smelled fishy. In the event of an emergency, Rosa would move the great general of the east.
“Considering all this, I doubt that Rosa would be willing to lend us her troops.”
Hearing Selene’s words, Proditos gritted her teeth in frustration.
Helma, who had placed his hand on his sister’s shoulder, turned to look at Selene.
“The Vanir Three Kingdoms――will they still move?”
“That’s… The history of persecution―is still fresh in their memory because of their longevity. The long-eared race will not tolerate the human race. Now that Grantz’s home country is thin on the ground, this is a great opportunity. The north is also unstable, so I can see them being happy about it.”
Even so, it was unlikely that Rosa would just sit back and watch. Selene also heard that she had moved her forces from the east to the south. It was safe to assume that she was ready to intercept them.
Moreover, the excellent commanders in the south were not participating in the recapture of Felzen this time. Since they had a full force, there seemed to be no problem even if the Vanir Three Kingdoms moved.
“I don’t think the Steichen Republic and the Principality of Lichtine will respond, but I’m worried about the Grand Duchy of Drall. Unlike the other countries, the Grand Duchy of Drall is in contact with many countries, and some areas are more or less influenced by them.”
“Do you think it is possible that the Grand Duchy of Drall will break up?”
“The south side of the Grand Duchy of Drall has a large number of “fairy believers,” and the discord between them and the “spirit believers” from the north side is so well known that it can be heard as far north as Grantz. If the south side has responded to the situation, the best thing to do would be to keep quiet and pretend not to see anything in order to avoid a split.”
It was rumored that the head of the Grand Duchy of Drall was not a determined man. The father and the eldest son were confident, but the second son was said to be timid or at the mercy of his aides.
“If the Vanir Three Kingdoms make a move, the one thing that is certain is that the free peoples will cooperate with them.”
The free peoples are a group of nations between the Steichen Republic and the Vanir Three Kingdoms, which were founded after persecution.
It was founded due to the persecution of the half-breeds, children born between the human and the long-eared tribe and between the beastman and the long-eared tribe. It is said that the Vanir Three Kingdoms, who took pity on these half-bloods, lent them land out of compassion. No doubt they would lend a hand to repay that favor.
“Free people, huh? …I didn’t expect to see the negative legacy of successive Grantz Emperors coming out here.”
“The persecution that has continued since the third Grantz Emperor has created the current situation―the same is true of the Six Kingdoms. It would be a misnomer to say that we brought this on ourselves, but it is a similar situation.”
With these words, Selene took out a book.
It’s a book that everyone who lived in Grantz had seen at least once.
――It qs a book called Black Book.
The author is unknown, but it was a hot topic when it was first released and Qs now hard to find.
“There is an interesting story in this Black Book.”
Selene opened the book, selected a page he had read and re-read many times, and began to read aloud.
“When the war against the demon race reached its climax, the first emperor Altius tried to destroy the nations of his own race that had not cooperated with him before. However, his brother, who was the God of War, admonished him. It is said that he who had the power to destroy a nation would create tens of thousands of misfortunes just because he did not like one thing – one is better than ten thousand, ten thousand are better than one, and one word is better than ten thousand words, it’s written in this Black Book.”
“They are close brothers…”
Selene couldn’t help but blurt out Proditos’ impression.
“Fufu, yes. It’s an ordinary word. It has no power to convince everyone. But I am sure that the first Emperor, Altius, was impressed.”
When you have strong power, everyone will bow down.
No one will naturally oppose them, and no one will advise them out of fear.
The first emperor, Altius, must have been pleased. While everyone bowed their heads and listened to his orders, only one person rebelled.
His joy outweighed his anger, and this was what is conveyed in the Black Book.
No matter how strong you are, you cannot win against loneliness.
The first emperor Altius must have been lonely, and it would have been a nuisance if his country had been destroyed because of it, but for him, it may have been a more serious problem than he thought.
But this was only possible because of their close friendship, a part of the events that could have divided the Grantz in two if he had made a wrong move.
“It seems that the Third Emperor of Grantz was not taught that lesson.”
Proditos’ words were tinged with dismay. Her feelings were understandable. The fate caused by the third emperor of Granz was still with them even after 1,000 years, so it was tempting to express a grudge or two.
“I heard that he was very paranoid. It seems that he thought everyone around him was an enemy, so he didn’t hesitate to invade other countries.”
The third emperor of Grantz had the worst possible outcome.
The persecution of other races by the humans spread throughout the central continent, creating an era that was no different from the time when the demon race ruled.
However, there were humans who stood up against this tyranny.
They were the younger brother of the third emperor of the Grantz and the descendants of the “Five Black Heavenly Generals” left behind by the “God of War.”
“The rebellion ended in failure, and the emperor’s brother fled to the west, vowing to rise again, while the descendants of the “Five Black Heavenly Generals” were all executed.”
Eventually, the third emperor of Grantz was so overwhelmed with shame that he committed suicide.
As time went by, the fifth emperor came to the throne, the honor of the “Five Black Heavenly Generals” was restored, and the persecution of other races came to an end, but the resentment toward the “human race” did not disappear.
“The persecution was the beginning of everything――”
Selene cut off his words once and then opened his mouth again.
“――The reason for the birth of the Six Kingdoms.”