The Vanir Three Kingdoms―the Church of Vanaheim.
On this day, this country was about to make new history.
In the city of Van, people filled the streets, enthusiastically waving the flag of Vanaheim.
Their gazes were met by the sight of soldiers in stark white armor that reflected the sun’s rays.
Proceeding with regularity, they went under the gate―the scene was the moment of departure to the battlefield.
――It was the departure of the heroes.
The fearless faces of the long-eared soldiers show their pride.
The faces of those who saw them off were also cheerful.
But that was only on the surface. Some of the people on the streets were in tears.
Mothers, wives, brothers, sisters, and families.
But no one paid any attention to them among this frenzy of people.
In other words, they thought they were weeping for joy. If someone from another country were here, they would feel the abnormal atmosphere.
The willingness of the people was that bizarre.
However, if there was no one who felt any discomfort with it, it was common sense, normal, and natural.
Going back to the street where the Vanaheim soldiers were lined up, there was the headquarters of “fairy believers.”
Many soldiers still remained in the courtyard. However, even though it was a large place where so many soldiers gather together, the heat was strangely intense.
Proudly watching over the Vanaheim soldiers were the supreme advisors, known as the cardinals.
They watched the soldiers off at a safe place from the balcony and then dreamed that they would be the new rulers.
One of them―Cardinal Snorri―left the balcony and made his way to the Galta Palace, adjacent to the Vanaweis Cathedral.
It was a historical celebration, but the Pope of Vanaheim had not left his room.
So his footsteps were slightly irritating as he walked along the corridor leading to Galta Palace.
“What is he thinking? There is no more important time than this day.”
Slowing his pace in front of the soldiers on guard, Cardinal Sunori gently knocked on the door leading to the special sanctuary where the Pope lived―The Great Canopy, where the Fairy King resided.
Even though he was indeed irritated, he might incur the wrath of the Fairy King if he knocked roughly. So, out of fear, he knocked softly, and though he wondered why there was no response, he kept on knocking again and again.
“Pope? Pope? Please answer me.”
There was no indication that he was out. The Pope, who served the Fairy King, was not allowed to go out without permission. It was possible with permission, but it was supposed to be accompanied by a large number of guards.
However, he had never heard anything about that. Above all, today was the day of an important ceremony.
Therefore, he was absolutely certain that he would not be going out.
Still, there were exceptions. They were allowed to move around freely inside the Galta Palace.
When Cardinal Snorri realized this possibility, he revealed his disappointment.
“Where did he go?”
He grabbed the handle, and the door opened. However, only the Pope, who had been chosen by the Fairy King, was allowed to enter. If anyone entered without permission, he would be punished by heaven.
However, it was also true that he was curious.
“…..But something might have happened to the Pope.”
If he had fallen ill and collapsed inside, it would be a big deal. Through a small opening, Cardinal Snorri peeked inside.
In the Pope’s room, there was a long-eared woman covered in wounds. Her back was resting on the altar, which was decorated with a crumbled statue.
“Kuh… not one to be hasty.”
She twisted her lips hatefully and put her shining palm on the wound.
She must be performing healing, Cardinal Snorri decided.
“A relic of the past….. that it would move after all these years.”
The woman spoke as if to throw up, and Cardinal Snorri decided to enter the room. Opening the door and stepping into the room, he looked around and shouted out.
“The Pope! Is he there?”
But the one who responded was the woman covered in scars.
“What’s going on?”
“Right. Woman, have you seen the Pope? He was supposed to be at the ceremony today.”
Cardinal Snorri tilted his head, crossed his arms, and looked around again.
But again, it was the woman who reacted.
“I am the Pope, as you know, but you are talking nonsense.”
“What nonsense! I don’t know any woman like you!”
Cardinal Snorri was indignant, wondering how the Fairy King could allow such a woman to play such a game in the Great Canopy.
“Good grief, what was he thinking, bringing a woman into the sanctuary?”
The woman rolled her eyes at Cardinal Snorri’s outburst for a moment, then seemed to notice something as she touched her head and pulled back her hood.
“You have never seen my face before. No wonder you don’t recognize me.”
Cardinal Snorri backed away from the woman, glared at her, and snorted.
“You are a fool… the Pope is a man. He is not a whore like you.”
He could have been mistaken for a woman, but the Pope of Vanaheim was a slender man.
With a gentle face, full of wisdom, loved by the people, and well-liked by the followers.
He was truly a born pope. His reputation in Snorri’s mind had declined after he brought a prostitute into the sanctuary, but he was still chosen by the Fairy King and must be treated with respect hereafter.
“Oh… you are a familiar face; this was a careless mistake.”
The woman stood up and approached Cardinal Snorri.
Her weak presence swelled to a powerful one.
It was immediately clear that this was no ordinary woman.
“You….. who are you?”
As he backed away, he checked the escape route―the doorway―with a sideways glance. Stepping out into the corridor, he vowed to call for help as soon as he could.
Having made his decision, Cardinal Snorri glided across the floor, slowly and unnoticed, away from the woman.
“My name is Nameless.”
As soon as she said her name, the door slammed shut.
Cardinal Snorri was stunned, not understanding what she meant.
“And if it is the Pope, I killed him a long time ago.”
Cardinal Snorri was hit with a staff by Nameless, who had been holding it for some time, and he fell to the floor with a resounding thud.
Nameless approached the groaning Cardinal Snorri and laughed softly.
“Along with the Fairy King.”
“It was a long time ago. There was an ordinary boy.”
Hiro began to speak in a hushed voice. Liz listened in silence.
“But he had a little different knowledge than the others.”
Hiro continued to weave his voice, pointing to his own head with his finger.
“It was knowledge so valuable that people were happy to call him ‘the savior.'”
He spoke in a somewhat sad, somewhat fragile manner, and all that was conveyed was the pain he felt.
“But as they spend more and more time together, the boy’s knowledge gradually becomes less valuable because people were creatures that learnt. The boy’s knowledge was no longer his own.”
Eventually, the boy may find himself abandoned. He was haunted by the threat that he might be discarded.
The boy pursued ‘power.’ He kept on chasing it desperately.
However, time passed in vain, and the boy was discouraged day after day without gaining anything.
The boy was still ordinary. However, the environment around him was changing.
“One day, a turning point came to the boy. A king appeared before him.”
The ‘king’ asked the boy if he wanted his power and offered him the forbidden fruit.
The boy, cornered, ate the fruit.
He was then captivated by the allure of ‘power.’
It was the day when everything went wrong―the day the times changed.
“It was later named ‘The Fallen’ and became an ‘abhorrent name’ for ‘fools.'”
More than 1,000 years ago, a ‘king’ of a certain country, out of curiosity, crushed a spirit stone and created the ‘spirit magic pill’ with a special manufacturing process.
He gave it to a soldier – a boy he had taken hostage from another country – to drink, but… Nothing happened at that time, and the ‘king’ was very discouraged.
But in the middle of the night, when everyone was asleep, the boy began to suffer. Soon after, the boy’s appearance changed, and he lost his reason and became a monster.
The patrolmen who noticed the change became the first victims, and then the monster ate the ‘king’ and killed everyone in the castle, young and old, male and female, indiscriminately.
“The country was annexed by another nation in the ensuing chaos. The boy took part in that battle as a monster.”
Later, the boy was protected by his brother-in-law, but he could not return to his original form.
“But the boy, who had gained power, performed tremendously. He continued to fight against the fear of the curse that was slowly eating away at him.”
So, there was no end to the number of people who became ‘the fallen’ after witnessing the power of the boy who had been ordinary.
Even the kings of countries about to be destroyed began to drink ‘the devil’ in order to avenge their own demise. Some even took advantage of this and ‘killed the devil,’ and the era entered a dark period.
“Eventually, the boy won so many battles that he was revered as a God of War.”
“Not everyone lost their reason during the Fall, but a few, like the boy, persevered.”
There were those who retained their rationality while gaining physical abilities that far surpassed those of ordinary humans.
People called those who endured the fall as Majin.
“But some people called them…
――The evil god.
“Liz, leave the rest to me. You don’t have to carry the whole burden.”
The mask in Hiro’s hand shattered easily, and shards fell to the ground beneath his feet.
“It took me a long time to get here.”
The ‘golden’ light that shone in both of Hiro’s eyes looked at Liz with great dignity.
“The permanent prosperity of the Grantz is just around the corner. A thousand years of history is about to be written.”
Hiro thrusts the Heavenly Emperor into the ground and extends his arm to Liz, his hand blackened by Ladon’s blood.
“I want you to give me the Flame Emperor. Then you will become Emperor of the Grantz and lead the world.”
“What about Hiro?”
Finally, Liz responded.
Hiro smiles at her, the corners of his eyes softening.
“I will continue to watch over you. Continue to love the history you are weaving.”
Under Hiro’s feet, with his arms outstretched, the light and darkness emitted by the Heavenly Emperor and the Dark Emperor are melding together. It was as if a full moon floating in the dark night had appeared, giving a gentle yet fragile impression.
“Throughout heaven and earth―as of today, the time of blankness comes to an end.”
Hiro’s expression as he turned his gaze to Liz once again was filled with intense and fierce resolve.
“I―will become a god and rule over the heavens.”
Hearing this declaration, Liz pointed the tip of the Flame Emperor at Hiro.
Hiro looked at her with a fresh face in the intense and beautiful crimson――,