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The Grand Duchy of Drall, located to the west of the Great Grantz Empire,was the country that tried to snatch the Felzen region from Grantz about four years ago in cooperation with the Six Kingdoms. As a result, their ambitions were crushed by a man named Hiro. In that battle, their legitimate heir, Pupchen, was killed in battle, and his father, the Grand Duke, was no longer with this world, and his second son, Hunthaven, succeeded to the position of Grand Duke. However, his timid character gave other countries an opportunity to take advantage of him and eventually resulted in the Grand Duchy being used as a transit point for the Vanir Three Kingdoms, which were eager to destroy the Great Grantz Empire.
A woman, Liz, set foot on the land of the Grand Duchy of Drall. Now that the sun had set, her beauty had indeed blended into the darkness.
“Your Highness Celia Estrella, there is no sign that the enemy forces have noticed us.”
A nervous voice can be heard from behind her, but Liz did not turn around but looked straight ahead. Her gaze was on the encampment of the Vanir Three Kingdoms that were marching through the Grand Duchy of Drall. On top of a hill, just a stone’s throw away from the enemy forces, even though it was hidden in darkness, if she made any strange noise, she would be noticed. So, naturally, her voice was also lowered.
“What is the situation?”
“The Vanir Three Kingdoms have regrouped their scattered armies and are currently in the process of reorganizing their forces, leaving gaps everywhere in their positions.”
“Then, let’s go. When I move, signal the whole army to charge.”
Liz pulled the “Flame Emperor” from her waist, kicked the horse in the stomach, and ran down the cliff at once.
At first, it was the sound of a single horse galloping, but in the blink of an eye, the roar of its hooves broke the night air. As one would expect, a sound so loud that it breaks the silence would be noticed by even the dullest of people. Then, of course, the vigilant guards of the Vanir Three Kingdoms would immediately realize that it was a night attack. Even so, their bewilderment delayed their judgment for a moment.
Liz, who had cut off the head of the guard who was about to shout, skillfully maneuvered her horse over the fence while keeping her eyes fixed on the darkness. The following cavalry rode from the bonfire-lit area into the encampment of the Vanir Three Kingdoms, aiming for the less guarded sections. Liz did not even turn to face one of the commanders who had caught up with them.
“We won’t stick to it. We’ll push through at once, break away, and join up with Aura.”
Liz brought with her only 2,000 men, and as expected, that was not enough to destroy the armies of the Vanir Three Kingdoms. The other party had more than 70,000 troops. Even so, Liz and the other 2,000 must reduce the enemy’s numbers as much as possible. If possible, it would be great if they could induce friendly fire by causing confusion. The objective this time was to delay the speed of the Vanir Three Kingdoms’ advance, and in essence, it was a night attack to buy time until the Great Grantz Empire’s intercepting preparations were ready. Behind Liz’s back, her allies were advancing through the enemy lines, opening fire. The flames spreading vigorously created a commotion in the area, and at once, the scene became filled with screams and shouts. Liz, who was in the lead, was convinced that the operation had succeeded. She was getting a good response, but then she sensed a deadly force and readied the “Flame Emperor” in front of her. The next thing she felt was a shock that made her arm go numb. Unable to kill the force of the blow, Liz jumped off her horse. As she passed by, the soldiers on her side looked upset. Recognizing their gestures of slowing down, Liz shouts out.
“Don’t stop; keep running! I’ll meet up with you later!”
But no one would listen to such an order. The soldiers started running around Liz in a circle, then split into several units and began pushing forward through the enemy lines. They intended to use themselves as bait to buy time for Liz to escape.
“We are waiting for you at the rendezvous point!”
Angry shouts could be heard from all directions. The enemy seemed to be more focused on the invading cavalry than on Liz’s presence, and there were only a few enemy soldiers surrounding them. Liz raised her hands above her head to escape, heeding the spirit of the Grantz and soldiers. Then the wind caught her arm, and a strong wind blew around her. The aided flames engulfed the tent like a wave. As Liz watches, a hand claps behind her. Turning around, she saw a hooded figure with a smile on her face.
“It’s wonderful, isn’t it? You master the Wind Emperor?”
“Nameless… or should I call you Princess Shrine Maiden?”
“As you wish, but did you know about it, or did Hiro-sama tell you?”
“Yes, I was very surprised, but… why are you doing this?”
If she had not been told about it by Hiro and Lucia, she would not have been able to calm down and talk about it. Even so, she was skeptical when she first heard about it, but when the person appeared in front of her, she had no choice but to accept it as the truth. Nameless answered Liz’s question with a complex state of mind without hesitation.
“It’s revenge. Revenge against the Great Grantz Empire.”
“The persecution caused by the third emperor is certainly unforgivable. But――”
Nameless restrained Liz with her hand as she was about to say something.
“I told you that I want revenge against the Great Grantz Empire. I am not thinking of revenge against the humans like the long-eared race.”
Nameless gives a puzzled look to Liz, who makes a dubious expression as if she still doesn’t understand.
“You wouldn’t understand, would you? It was before you were born… so do you know about the dark side of the Grantz family, Liz-sama?”
“It is just a rumor. The current Emperor Grantz family has the blood of the first emperor in their veins―”
“It’s true. The assassination of the then emperor was carried out by the “Black Death Village,” and the five great nobles, the Krone and Scharm families, took advantage of the chaos to eliminate people from the Grantz Imperial Family. The two families fell out due to friction of interest, but the Scharm family succeeded in outmaneuvering the Krone family, and the next emperor was chosen from within their own family. This relationship has continued to the present day, and His Majesty Greyheit also favored a member of the Scharm family. The Krone family, feeling threatened by this, decided to make a move―they planned to bring the legitimate blood of the Grantz into the Krone family.”
“Of course, this is true. The future first queen, the daughter of the Krone family, was to marry King Greif of the Six Kingdoms.”
If a child were to be born between the two, the Krone family, who knew the truth about the Grantz Imperial family, might claim the legitimacy of the throne. Therefore, the previous Emperor Greyheit, wielded his power and allowed the daughter of the Krone family to marry into the imperial family. However, it was just before the marriage ceremony, and after having already met the unified king, the Six Kingdoms were furious at having their faces smeared.
“But there was no way that His Majesty Greyheit would listen. The relationship between the two countries continued to deteriorate. Public opinion was also critical of His Majesty Greyheit. So, as an example, His Majesty Greyheit attacked the Kingdom of Felzen, which was a friendly country of the Six Kingdoms.”
The result was a great victory, but the defeat lingered, and Felzen was later completely destroyed by Lord Bunadhara’s daughter, Aura, later known as the “War Maiden.” The Six Kingdoms, fearful of the might of the Great Grantz Empire, did not send reinforcements to Felzen, which had been a friendly nation, but instead remained silent.
“I heard that His Majesty Greyheit thought that he had thwarted the Krone family’s plans, but everything was going exactly as they had planned.”
The head of the Krone family’s goal from the beginning was to have Greyheit kidnap his daughter and reach out to the central authorities as an external relative. Later it was announced that the first queen was pregnant. However, the child was a twin of a “human” and a “long-eared race.”
“Now, what do you think is the problem? In this day and age, it is not unusual for a “half-human” to be born.”
“…I believe that the first princess shrine maiden, who was said to be the sister of the first emperor, was one of the long-eared race. There should be no problem.”
“The two of them had different mothers. The parents of His Majesty Altius are both the “humans.” And to add to that, the third emperor was a purist who did not accept “different” blood, and the code he established was followed by the later emperors of Grantz.”
“But if it is true that the current Grantz emperor has taken over the Grantz, it is also possible that there are different races’ blood in the imperial family…”
“The Imperial family has been pure-blooded. The current Grantz family has also kept this area thoroughly protected. So, there is no way that there will ever be a long-eared race in the family. However, since it was announced inside and outside the country, it is impossible to pretend that it never happened. The “human” boy was welcomed into the imperial family, but he was sent to the Krone family. The remaining girl from the long-eared race was sent to the “Spirit King’s Temple” because of her poor health.”
Liz was absolutely mortified. She had come to a conclusion. Nameless smiled as she realized what Liz was thinking.
“I was raised in the “Spirit King’s Temple” without knowing anything about it, but that is not the case with Stobel. Since he has no blood of the current emperor in his veins, he cannot receive his father’s love, and his heart is being eroded by being caught between the Krone and Grantz families.”
But for the Krone family, the situation was not a laughing matter. Not only did they have the blood of the Grantz, but they also had the power of being an external relative of the next emperor, and they had even succeeded in gripping the emperor’s weakness. But they could only laugh for a short time.
“Liz-sama, your mother has been found. In time, you were born with red hair―the cursed mark of the 22nd emperor.”
The “pure blood” from the very first emperor and even the blood of the present Emperor Grantz were inherited. It was truly the birth of a legitimate miracle child. But to the Krone family, it would have looked like the devil’s child. With Liz, they lost their legitimacy and even the weakness of the Grantz family.
“His Majesty Greyheit plotted to abolish Stobel’s legitimacy and entered into a full-scale conflict with the Krone family.”
And then―triggering the incident of the rear palace massacre.
“My mother had a broken heart. She was torn from the love of her life, she was not allowed to see her children, she lived under house arrest in the palace, and she was transformed into an old woman.”
There was no way she could have committed such a spectacular incident as the palace massacre. It was the Black Death Village, the Krone family, and Stobel who carried out the massacre.
“I only found out about it recently. I didn’t know anything about it when I was a child, and although it was a major event that shook the central continent, I heard about it as if it were someone else’s problem.”
In the beginning, the princess shrine priestess at that time told me that she was nameless and a war orphan. It was only when she was able to understand that she was actually a member of the Grantz family that she was informed of the fact. There was a bit of surprise, but not enough to be distraught. She had been told that she was a war orphan and could not think of a home she did not remember, nor could she have any affection for a mother she had never met.
“But she must have gradually grown weary of me as I grew in strength as a shrine maiden. No, perhaps he feared that he would be avenged. His Majesty Greyheit or the Krone family―or both―have sent assassins after me on numerous occasions.”
The princess shrine maiden of the time helped her out, but her heart was troubled by the repeated attempts on her life. She was unable to sleep, and the question of why kept swirling around in her mind.
“One day, His Majesty Greyheit visited the “Spirit King’s Temple” with you. He did not know that I was the First Princess. Can you believe that he hunted down my mother and even sent assassins after me, but… he doesn’t know my face?”
When she saw Greyheit smiling as she held Liz in her arms, the sight was so unreasonable that “Nameless” vowed to take revenge on the Grantz and the Krone families―the Great Grantz Empire―who had imposed this cruel fate on her.
“Still―still, I must stop you.”
“I know you must. I did not say that because I wanted you to feel sorry for me. I just thought you should know the facts, especially since you were born so close to me.”
A tin cane descends from the heavens. It landed in the hands of Nameless with a divine sound of a bell.
“I have nothing against you personally, but as a representative of the Great Grantz Empire… I would like you to witness the end of the Grantz Imperial Family as you watch your people die and suffer the agony of their vanishing lives.”
“Why involve the people as well….. when they have nothing to do with it?”
“If you feel that way, resist. If there is someone you want to protect, trample on the happiness of others.”
“Yes, I will resist. Your vengeance involving the people is unacceptable!”
In response to Liz’s cry, flames erupt from the Flame Emperor. In the blink of an eye, it formed a circle around Nameless and Liz. No one could get in the way of the battle. At the same time, Nameless would never be able to escape. In front of Liz, who showed her determination to finish her off here, Nameless also created her shadow, probably by using her ability. However, the flames surrounding Nameless on all sides, fueled by the wind, bit into Nameless’ shadow one by one like a snake jumping on it, burning it to the ground with overwhelming firepower. Still, Nameless does not give up and continues to create another shadow, but in the blink of an eye, it burns away and is crushed by the overwhelming destructive power of the flames. Not a single step could bring her closer. She could not even approach the red-haired princess, who was standing there with a relaxed look on her face.
“Well, well, well… it doesn’t look like I’m going to win now, right?”
Nameless, laughing like a fool, slammed the tin cane on the ground and rang the bell attached to the tip violently. At the same time, Liz slammed her fist on the ground as a crack appeared in the space in front of Nameless’ eyes. Instantly, the crack explodes, and Nameless’ body is engulfed in flames and blown away.
Liz came up to Nameless, who was engulfed in flames and pierced her chest with her Flame Emperor as it rushed sharply toward her. Blood gushed out but was vaporized by the flames. Nameless did not scream but smiled with satisfaction as her face contorted in pain.
“I will not let you have my corpse.”
Nameless grabbed the Flame Emperor’s blade and pulled it out of her own body, then plunged herself into the whirlpool of flames created by Liz. Although it was a suicidal act, the only sound coming from her was a loud laugh as she continued to dance happily in the flames.
“Your Highness Celia Estrella, do your “eyes” see the truth? You see only what you want to see and not what you don’t want to see, and if you only “see” what is convenient for the world, then you will always remain a pawn.”
Bowing her head amidst the flames, Nameless fell to the ground in a slumped position.
“I beg you to never forget my words.”
First of all, there was no way to survive. However, Nameless showed a lot of composure right up until the end, and Liz didn’t know what to look at in the face of that eerie demise. But that didn’t leave any time to check the body. She knew that the soldiers of the Vanir Three Kingdoms, who had sensed something wrong in the main camp, were approaching. Liz called for the wind to create a path through the wall of flames and then whistled to call her beloved horse. She pulled on the reins, mounted her horse, and immediately left the battlefield.