Here’s the chapter, enjoy~
There was a country called Azel, which was called the gateway to the Six Kingdoms.
Azel was a country bordering on the Kingdom of Felzen―now a province of the Great Grantz Empire, and although it prospered when land routes were the major means of transportation, it fell into decline as sea trade became more prosperous. As a result, the population was also decreasing, and now, due to the invasion of the Grantz, the people living in Azel had fled to other countries, and even villages without people sprung up.
The capital of Azel was Licht, which was currently under the attack of the Grantz’s main army, and black smoke was rising from all over the city walls. The Grantz were also under attack from the countries belonging to the Six Kingdoms, such as Urpeth, Scorpius, and Tigris, which had emerged from their rear.
The attack of the coalition of three countries was met by an army led by Supreme Chairman Skadi, who had rushed from the Republic of Steichen to reinforce Grantz.
At first, the Steichen army was pushed back by the momentum of the coalition of the three countries, but from behind it came the five imperial armies of the Great Grantz Empire, the elite units of which were the “Golden Lion Knights,” the “Imperial Black Knights,” and the “Order of the Roses.”
However, the coalition of the three countries did not give up and concentrated on the Steichen forces in the front, where the walls were thinnest, and continued to attack the encircling forces―and to try to break out of it, they kept on struggling. The Steichen forces, which played a key role in the rear of the main Grantz forces, tried to push back against the momentum, but the difference in numbers was insurmountable.
“Nee-san. We’ve already been pushed too far. We can’t go any further!”
Skadi’s aide shouted. But she would not listen. It was because Skadi was trying to hunt the prey in front of her with all her might, which also meant that she could not afford to lose any more time.
“Haha! Is it over already?”
With a wild swing of her arm, Skadi was slaughtering the long-eared race that surrounded her. Her figure, bathed in blood, was exactly like that of a Shura.
Her opponent’s name was Malam Inar, the owner of the Five Destructive Holy Principle Swords.
He skillfully avoided Skadi’s attacks, but even so, not all of them were successful.
Blood gushed from all parts of his body, large and small. He was also pale and unsteady on his feet, completely overwhelmed by Skadi. However, in terms of the severity of the injuries, Skadi’s injuries were more serious. However, she was enjoying the pain, even as she attacked Malam.
Malam clicked his tongue. If it had been an ordinary person, the battle would have ended in Malam’s victory. But he had misjudged his opponent’s strength, willpower, and stamina. Skadi’s thighs were gouged and bleeding profusely, and her left arm was hanging limply as if it could not move again.
“I’m a beastman, after all! Let’s have more, more fun!”
Her right arm swung down, only to cut into the ground, but she used her momentum to swing her motionless left arm. Although he barely managed to avoid a cut on his cheek, Malam was forced to back away in the face of Skadi’s determination to kill his prey.
At that moment.
“Malam! What are you doing? If you continue like this, our army will be destroyed! Cut through the front!”
A man who appeared to be the commander shouted. Malam opened his mouth wide in frustration.
“I’m doing it! Just shut up!”
“You bastard, I’m your superior――”
“What a noisy guy. Don’t interrupt me while I’m having fun!”
Skadi thrust her Mad Claws into the face of the shouting commander and let out a gasp of ecstasy as if drunk. Seeing this, Malam backed away again. He was now afraid. Seeing her continue to gouge the commander’s face with blood in return, Malam finally realized.
“…..Are you crazy? He’s already dead.”
“So what’s it matter?”
Again and again, Skadi licked his tongue as she thrust the commander in his deformed face.
“This will happen to you, too. Aren’t you glad?”
Dumping the corpse at Malam’s feet, Skadi approached him, humming a tune. Malam’s cheeks twitching, he slowly backed up and opened his mouth to expel his fear.
If he showed his back, Skadi would jump on Malam.
There was no other way out but to take down Skadi in front of him. Still, his arms would not move. Malam bit his lips as if to scold his trembling arms and let out an inarticulate yell. He throws his Hourin Moon toward Skadi. Then, it split in midair. Several blades were created.
There was no space to avoid them. All of the blades were approaching Skadi. However, she lunged at them head-on.
“Haha! I guess I can still have fun!”
She popped them with her Mad Claws, bit them with her mouth, stepped on them with her feet, and jumped to avoid them.
Even so, she couldn’t avoid all of them but kept avoiding only the fatal ones.
Her dynamic vision was extraordinary.
With just one, two, or three small movements, she reacted with frightening speed. Even though she was exposed to a great number of attacks, she gradually stopped even using her weapon to prevent them and easily avoided Malam’s attack, as if she had seen it coming. It was Malam who stared at her with an astonished expression.
“I guess I’m used to it. I can already see your attacks.”
Skadi snickered that she was bored and pounced on Malam. Big move; no reason not to avoid it. With a sideways step, Malam dodged and threw his Hourin Moon again, which came back to his hand. Then he turned his body and jumped on a horse that had lost its master and was wandering around the battlefield.
“Don’t do anything unsightly. Shut up and die!”
Skadi tried to chase after him, but the fatigue she had been accumulating made her slow to act.
Above all, she was unable to move freely due to the wounds she had sustained.
“Damn it. Someone stop him!”
The order was faithfully carried out, but no one could stop him. As Skadi mounted her horse and went after him, Malam was blown to the ground in front of her. With a stunned look on her face, she looked in the direction where he was knocked out. There stood a woman with a gloomy expression on her face.
“Urpeth, Urpeth, Urpeth.”
A one-armed woman comes from the front, muttering the same words over and over again as if she were cursing it. Apparently, Skadi was not the only one who was surprised to see her.
“You… you still alive?”
Malam also shudders in astonishment at the sight of her presence. But Luca Mammon de Urpeth, ignoring his reaction, looked down at Malam with wide-awake eyes.
“Who are you?”
With a burst of air, Malam’s head was blown off, and brain fluid was scattered on the ground.
Blood gushed from his headless torso, and he almost fell to the ground from the loss of power, but that, too, was crushed by Luca’s attack. A gasp escaped from the Steichen soldier at the sight of the scene, which was too gruesome to describe. Even amidst the commotion in the surrounding area, Luca stared at an unknown location, drenched in a rain of guts and blood.
“Whoever belongs to Urpeth must die.”
Luca had a dark smile on her face, but eventually, she turned her gaze to Skadi.
“That’s strange. No words of thanks?”
“Do I have to say it?”
The two exchanged glares with an acrimonious air.
“I’m glad to see that it’s settled.”
A hooded figure suddenly appeared in front of them.
“My name is Chimera. I am the Twelve Demon Lords of the Black Death Village.”
The person shook his head repeatedly, as if searching for something, and stepped toward the part of Malam’s corpse.
“…What are you doing?”
Skadi asked Chimera, her guard never dimming, but the figure ignored her and continued to fish around in the remains of Malam’s corpse.
“I asked you what you’re doing!”
She jumped at Chimera, who was fishing for the corpse with his back to her. However, Skadi’s attack was narrowly averted. With a tongue click, Skadi tried to attack again, but Chimera noticed and took a step backward, out of her possible attack range.
“…Enough food for you.”
As Chimera uttered these strange words, a principle stone was clutched in his hand.
Luca made a surprise attack from behind Chimera, but he avoided even that and moved further away from the two. He put the stone in his pocket, pulled back his hood, and opened his mouth, which was hidden in the darkness.
“Be careful. What may seem unimportant to you may be important to us. And vice versa.”
With these words, Chimera disappeared. Luca and Skadi could do nothing but look on in amazement, and then someone called out to them.
“Luca-neesan! Are you alright?”
It was Hugin, the commander of the Raven Army. Skadi looked around, wondering why Hugin and Luca were here, although she was also concerned about Chimera’s words.
There was no need to ask Hugin or Luca. The answer was right in sight.
“We’ve been pushed all the way down here, haven’t we?”
It seems that she had been so focused on the battle that she had noticed it too late. The Steichen army was now forced to retreat to the main camp of the Raven Army. As a result, Skadi was saved, and perhaps still hesitant to express her gratitude, she turned her face away from Luca and Hugin, looking sullen.
Munin came to the three of them.
“Hugin, I received a letter from brother Ghada.”
“From the big brother?”
“Yeah, I got his reply beforehand, so I was able to manage, but I guess I have to deliver the letter from brother Ghada to His Majesty the Black Dragon King right away.”
“Wise Brother must have gone to Greif, but I don’t know which way he chose to go, so it’s impossible.”
“That’s why you’ll have to take it. The Black Dragon King should have sent a messenger. You can give it to him, and everything will be alright.”
Although it was fine to use the spies hidden in various places, it was better to wait for Hiro quietly than to go through them. Hugin, perhaps deciding so, accepted the letter and carefully tucked it away in her pocket.
At that moment, a cheer erupted from the rear. They all turned their heads in the same direction.
The main force of the Grantz might have broken through the gate of Licht, the capital of the country of the Azel.
However, Skadi seemed to have noticed something a little strange and made a dour expression on her face.
“What do you mean?”
It was Luca who showed a reaction. It was unusual for her to be listening to someone else’s words.
Her expression was unreadable. But Luca also sensed something, and instead of the usual murky look in her eyes, she had a serious light in her pupils.
“For breaking through the gate… I think the reaction is a little more different.”
As if unable to say it well, Skadi said something that sounded as if something was stuck in her back teeth. Perhaps agreeing with her, Luca did not say anything and silently turned her attention to the main camp of the Grantz.
In Greif, one of the Six Kingdoms, there is a carriage driving along the road. Inside the carriage was the second king of Baum, the Black Dragon King, and Lucia, queen of Anguis, one of the Six Kingdoms.
“Was it really okay for you not to have worked out the details?”
Most of the higher-ups in Greif had been slaughtered by the Black Death Village. The chain of command was in disarray. But Lucia, upon signing a truce agreement with Liz, simply gathered the main commanders and gave them a high-handed order to follow her lead from here on out. And so, the group, rushing ahead to stop the war between the Six Kingdoms and the Grantz, is now on its way to Licht, the capital of Azel.
“No problem. My second-in-command, Seleucus, is very capable.”
Lucia’s confident words gave Hiro an idea.
“Ah, so the preparations have been made.”
Whether it was before Hiro came to the Six Kingdoms or when the war started with the Grantz, the takeover of Greif’s commanders had already been completed. If it had been decided to follow Lucia from the start, all that remained was for the commanders to persuade the soldiers, and there would be few occasions when she would be needed. If there were to be any, Seleucus, her second-in-command, would probably handle it.
“What I don’t understand is why was it necessary to call a truce when it would have been the perfect opportunity to inflict a mortal wound on the Grantz?”
When Hiro expressed his doubts, Lucia happily cleared her throat and replied.
“I’m not sure I can beat that girl. The first emperor’s Sword of Demise is the opponent. My Heavenly Blessing is not strong enough to prevent that kind of power.”
“Still, you could have killed her if you made the sacrifice.”
“If I had done so, you would have turned against me. I don’t know what you are thinking, but I will never fight a battle that cannot be won.”
Lucia added, fanning herself with her iron fan.
“Even if I were lucky enough to kill her, including you, at great cost, the Six Kingdoms would be unable to recover if confronted by Grantz and Baum, who are bent on revenge warfare. There would be no gain for me in terms of the future. No matter how good the prey was, if it could not be killed or captured, there was no choice but to let it go.”
Hiro knew what she was thinking, but he had a faint idea of what she was up to.
On her own initiative, she signed a truce with the Grantz and headed for Licht with soldiers from Greif.
Her purpose was probably the higher-ups in the three-nation coalition―Urpeth, Tigris, and Scorpius.
They must be on the battlefield under the orders of the Vanir Three Kingdoms, and after defeating them as rebels, she must have had the intention of acquiring the Six Kingdoms in one fell swoop.
In other words, using the Grantz to weaken the rebels and using Hiro as bait to lure out Liz, Lucia would make a truce before she was fatally wounded. In other words, she successfully used Hiro to unify the Six Kingdoms. By now, those who were under the influence of Lucia may be committing rebellion in the home countries of the three alliances. And then there were the Vanir Three Kingdoms with the Grantz, the anomalies in the north, and the sparks in the south. If Grantz were to tip over, Lucia would surely attack Grantz with her remaining forces at once. Felzen will again be in the hands of the Six Kingdoms, and if all goes well, she will also be able to chip away at the western part of the country.
A totally unfeasible person, really, she really has a lot of wisdom.
(Things went the way I wanted them to.)
It would have been better if she had been scheming with him so that he could be suspicious of her from the beginning.
In short, all he had to do was to read the other party’s thoughts and go above and beyond them.
On the contrary, those who bring up righteousness and humanity were difficult to read, thanks to their unpredictable behavior.
Therefore, her behavior was expected, and Lucia was a very easy pawn for Hiro to handle. While admitting defeat on his face, Hiro opened his mouth again, chuckling inwardly.
“So what are you going to do now?”
Don’t let them know. Don’t let people know that he has read through their thoughts.
He had to make them question, keep them ambiguous, create a gap in their thinking, and make them do what he wanted in the future.
“The first step would be to stabilize the Six Kingdoms. The rest is… up to Grantz, isn’t it?”
“I see. Indeed, what will happen in the future――”
Before Hiro could finish, something unusual happened suddenly.
A single spear appeared in front of the two of them.
Lucia looked at the spear that appeared between them with surprise, and Hiro also looked at the Ice Emperor, who acted on its own with puzzlement. It is rare for the Five Emperors of the Spirit Sword to appear here of their own volition. Hiro let out a sigh of fatigue, perhaps because of the many problems that have arisen today.
The Ice Emperor’s emotions pouring in gave Hiro a headache, and he kept his face down, pinching his brow.
“…I see, I understand.”
Hiro raised his hand and gave a small nod of understanding. With that, the Ice Emperor disappeared. Lucia leaned forward as if she was interested.
“Hmm, something seems to have gone wrong.”
“Yes, I think there was a slight problem. I’d like to ask you to speed up the carriage.”
“Are you in a hurry…?”
“It may affect your plans―and the future as well.”
Lucia’s mouth hangs open when she reaches the answer to Hiro’s threatening words and actions.
“Oh….. indeed―then it seems there is no need to hesitate.”
When Lucia ordered to speed up by tapping on the coachman’s window, she again turned her gaze to Hiro.
“Do you not need to send a message to the sixth princess Celia Estrella? Isn’t that different from the one you sent out earlier?”
“Certainly, the messenger I sent out earlier had nothing to do with this time. But there is no need to inform Liz.”
Liz had clairvoyance.
She was more likely to know what’s going on than Hiro, who was informed by the Ice Emperor.
“It’s unexpectedly cold. But… I should say that as expected of the Five Emperors of the Spirit Sword.”
Lucia’s words prompted Hiro to move on without interrupting.
“Even without the Lord’s command, it appears on your side and disappears as it pleases. This characteristic is not seen in the other World’s Five Greatest Treasured Swords.”
“That’s because the makers of the Five Emperors of the Spirit Sword wanted it that way. If you are going to breathe life into a weapon, you want it to sprout free will and not be manipulated by anyone.”
Hence, the Five Emperors of the Spirit Sword became powerful. Ultimately speaking, it led to failure. The Five Emperors of the Spirit Sword were five swords in one, but each acted with its own will. If forced to obey, the Five Emperors of the Spirit Sword would close their minds, but they would still be powerful. However, a “curse” would be born, and the body would be adversely affected, which would be the opposite of its original power, and would never produce the desired result.
Then the ‘God’ cannot be killed.
Even the first emperor, Altius, was not able to have all five swords because he gave his will to the Five Emperors of the Spirit Sword.
“If that is the case, then the reason why you were abandoned by the Wind Emperor depends on its mood of the day; that is, it has a very difficult character, doesn’t it?”
“I think that’s a little special. It depends on the contract between the two parties… Well, before that, the former holder of the Wind Emperor is Emperor Greyheit. It means that it might take his feelings into consideration.”
“Hmm, Greyheit’s feelings…”
“Yeah, they have different personalities, but that is the most important part of the Five Emperors of the Spirit Sword.”
Sitting deep in his chair, Hiro smiled to himself with a distant look in his eyes.