Here’s the chapter, enjoy~
It was a windy night. Fresh warm air was coming in through the window. In a room with no light, a woman was smiling in front of a cradle. She was humming a lullaby.
“It will be over soon… Finally, the day will come when you will be at peace.”
Her face, illuminated by the moonlight, was full of compassion. She was Serphina, the wife of Vetu, the head of the Muzuk family, one of the five great noble families that ruled the southern part of the Grantz Empire.
“When you wake up, let’s go for a walk. That is the only thing I am looking forward to.”
Her smiling face was ever serene. Around her were scattered children’s toys.
“When peace comes to the central continent… you and your father can go out together.”
When she put her hand in the cradle――
“Serphina-dono, we are ready.”
From the other end of the door came the voice of Robert, the former five great generals whom Weiss had left in charge of watching over the south. With a sigh, Serphina turned her reproachful gaze to the door.
“I’ll be right there. And keep your voice down; the child has just gone to bed.”
“I’m sorry about that. I’ll wait for you in the hallway.”
“Then, Mother has to go to work. You must wait patiently.”
Serphina sat up and left her room, looking back and forth with a worried expression on her face.
The moonlight shone through the window, illuminating the cradle, which swayed slightly in the wind, but――
――There was nothing in it.
Serphina closed the door to the room behind her, and Robert, who was waiting for her in the hallway, spoke to her.
“It seems that everyone has already gathered in the room.”
“I understand. What about the soldiers?”
“They have set up a perimeter so that no one, not even rats, can escape.”
“Where is Liz-sama’s uncle―Margrave Grinda?”
“He is resting in his room. If we work together, the other party might discover our plan.”
While conversing, Serphina and Robert continued down the corridor until they arrived at the desired location, a doorway. Serphina tapped discreetly on the door as if to announce a visitor.
“Dear, excuse me.”
Before receiving a reply, Serphina opened the door and entered, followed by Robert, who also stepped inside. Vetu looked surprised. Around him were gathered the southern nobles.
“What do you want? And even General Robert…”
“Sorry, I was the one who approached your wife.”
“Yes, I’ve heard something that’s been bothering you. I came to find out why you have not invited me, or even Margrave Grinda, here to discuss an important matter.”
“Because I didn’t think it was important enough to call General Robert. We are in the middle of a discussion about the management of the city. We may be living in the same country, but you are a nobleman from the East. We can’t let you join us, can we?”
“Well, then, why don’t you invite Margrave Grinda? He is a southern nobleman, isn’t he?”
“That is true, but his territory is too far away from here. It would be impolite to call him for something he has little to do with. He is the uncle of the next Empress, Her Highness Celia Estrella. It is presumptuous.”
Serphina stepped forward with a deliberate smile on her face.
“Then I guess there’s no problem for me to stay here.”
“…I would ask you to leave this room if you can.”
Vetu frowned with irritation, and Serphina put her hand over her mouth in exaggerated surprise.
“Why? Are you thinking of doing something wrong?”
“What do you mean? Now, the country needs to be united, and such nonsense, even from my wife, is too much.”
Vetu, who was at the end of his patience, tapped his desk and got up from his chair.
“Well, well, Vetu-sama, calm down. There is nothing wrong with having your wife here, is there?”
“What are you…”
Vetu looked at the nobleman with a doubtful expression. As if to press the point, Serphina opened her mouth.
“Speaking of which, I heard an interesting rumor. I heard that the southern nobles have joined forces with the free people and are planning an attack behind the backs of General Weiss and Prime Minister Rosa’s army.”
“…..If that’s true, that would be a big problem.”
“Yes, it really is more than treason.”
Glaring at Serphina, Vetu calmed himself with a wild exhalation of breath.
“Be careful what you say. Even if you are my wife, there is a limit.”
“I apologize. But if you have not discussed such a matter, may I join you? There is no one here who is against it.”
“…..Isn’t it okay?”
Vetu glared at the nobles sitting in their seats. But they remained silent in agreement with Serphina’s words.
“Well, then, I shall join you. I have one thing to say to you.”
General Robert said, and Vetu gave him a sharp look as if rejecting him.
“You have something you want to say?”
“There were people who wanted to kill me. There were also assassins released against Margrave Grinda. We succeeded in repelling both of them, but if we caught them, but… If I caught them and made them talk, they would say that they were under Vetu-dono’s orders, would they not?”
“…..What nonsense. Are you insane?”
Whether he didn’t remember or was playing dumb, Vetu at least seemed genuinely outraged at being falsely accused. The southern nobles were giving him a reproachful look.
“After that, we caught a suspicious person. A messenger with a letter to the free people.”
Robert took out a sheet of parchment and placed it on the desk.
“I have examined the contents and found your name written on it, Vetu-dono. Do you know anything about this as well?”
Vetu said nothing. He crossed his arms and stared at the parchment with a discouraged expression. Serphina approaches him.
“I have heard that you were also involved in… the death of the previous head of the family.”
“…..Serphina, it was you!”
Releasing a vigorous, angry shout, Vetu approached Serphina, but she brushed it off with a calm face.
“You murdered my father and took over the Muzuk family. You are the son of a traitor, born of the wife of the previous head of the family and a merchant with whom she had an affair.”
When Vetu discovered that he could not succeed as head of the family due to no blood ties, he decided to kill the previous head of the family. He then quickly seized control of the southern nobility and executed those who knew the truth―the southern nobles, including his real parents. In the process, he learned that the previous head of the family had had a child with a concubine.
“Although I was already married, you wanted the blood of the Muzuk family, so you killed my husband and daughter in what you faked to look like an accident.”
Serphina was grieving over the loss of her daughter and husband at the same time, but Vetu approached her and gently comforted her. She remarried Vetu, but after hearing the truth from Nameless, her love cooled, and hatred began to grow. It was impossible not to hate him. That’s why she prepared so carefully and waited for this day to come.
“…..Did you believe it? You believe this woman more than I, with whom you have shared so much pain and suffering?”
The old southern noble who threw an exasperated glance at Vetu, who spat out a raspy voice, sighed.
“We have no choice but to believe her. There have always been suspicious rumors about the wife of the previous head of the family. Above all, the old southern nobles know that Serphina-sama is the child of the previous head of the family.”
“Give it up, Vetu. Prime Minister Rosa has ordered us to capture you.”
Robert tried to seize him, but Vetu fought him off.
“Don’t screw with me! Who do you think made the Muzuk family so powerful?”
Vetu shouted, and at the same time, the door to the room was opened with a loud bang. A man rushed in from there. Breathing on his shoulder, he looks around the noisy room with a quizzical expression on his face.
“…What’s all the fuss about?”
It’s Rozl, Vetu’s right-hand man. He had escaped from Sandinal and returned to his home base.
“We are pursuing Vetu for the murder of the previous head of the family. Rozl, you may not forgive him, either. The previous head of the family, to whom you owe so much for adopting you from an orphan, was murdered by a child of infidelity with whom there was no blood relationship.”
The old nobleman explained, and Rozl turned to Vetu, who had lost his color.
“Is that true?”
Rozl, who had closed the distance between him and Vetu by walking up to him on wobbly legs, grabbed him by the shoulders.
“Is this true, Vetu-sama?”
He must have read the letter sent by Serphina many times. Rozl pressed him, thrusting the crumpled letter at Vetu.
“If so… what would you do? Kill me?”
Vetu smiled sarcastically at him, and Rozl’s eyes flicker with conflict. It was the previous head of the family, to whom he was greatly indebted, but it was also true that after his death, Vetu took good care of him.
“Oh well, we’ll get him anyway.”
Robert grabbed Vetu’s arm and tried to take him away. Vetu showed no resistance. He had probably given up on the idea of being a fool now that he had no one on his side.
It was Rozl who stopped him.
The moment Robert turned around, a spray of blood flew up in the air. Next, a huge body collapsed, and the general’s head rolled on the ground. The too-abrupt event brought silence to the room, and Rozl, bathed in the returning blood, looked down at the corpse with his great sword clenched in his hand. But surprisingly, his expression was also one of astonishment. His eyes were swimming as if he had no idea what had just happened. Then he grabbed Vetu by the shoulders.
He then plunged his great sword into Vetu’s gut and cut off his life.
“You’ve lost your bloody mind, Rozl!”
The southern nobleman who shouted was the next victim. Rozl cut him down, twisted his body vigorously, and smashed his blade against Serphina’s head, who was unable to swallow the situation. As it was, like a child swinging a stick, Rozl attacked the southern nobles, swinging his great sword carelessly.
“R-run! Please, it wasn’t me. I didn’t mean for this to happen!”
“Don’t be ridiculous; you can’t do this to me――!”
The head of the southern nobleman, who was turning to him in anger, burst open. It was Rozl who watched with a sorrowful expression as his brain fluid splattered.
“No. No! No! It’s not me, ‘Demon Creator,’ please stop it!”
Rozl repeated words and actions that made no sense, but there was no hesitation in his greatsword. The sharpness of the sword cut people’s bodies in half. The southern nobles who had gathered in the room were unable to escape, and the soldiers on guard, who had sensed something was wrong in the room, were all killed by Rozl’s hands as soon as they entered.
“O-oh, what, why, how could this happen!”
The great sword slipped from his hand and rolled on the floor with a dull thud. Surprised to find himself stained with returning blood, Rozl stared at his red hands and exclaimed. Just then, he heard a sound from a corner of the room, coming from the shadows. He hurriedly picks up his greatsword and points the tip at it. Out of the darkness came something in the shape of a figure, clapping its hands as it approached.
“Thanks for your help… Rozl Frey von Ingnal.”
“W-who are you…?”
Judging by her slightly puffed-out breasts and the quality of her voice, she must be a woman. The reason why he could not be sure was that the person who appeared in front of him had burned skin all over her body. Some of the melted clothes were sticking to her, and blood spurted out when she peeled them off with irritation. The smell of the burn was distinctive, and the foul odor began to spread rapidly through the room. In the first place, how could someone survive while being severely burned, and witnessing such a bizarre-looking creature that was not even really a person, made Rozl tremble with fear.
“One of the Five Demon Emperor Swords, “Demon Creator,” I can finally get my hands on it…”
“What are you talking about?”
“I’ve told you before. You are my shadow.”
“…You, are you Nameless?”
“Because of the power I gave to you, I was not able to fight with Her Highness Celia Estrella properly because I was not as good as I should have been. But if you think of the hard work that went into obtaining the Five Demon Emperor’s Swords… you may be somewhat rewarded.”
Rozl swung his great sword threateningly at Nameless, who reached out to him, but when she glared at him, his body went rigid against his will. Unable to comprehend what was happening, Rozl stared at the approaching Nameless with teary eyes.
“You cannot refuse the order of the main body. You are no longer a part of it.”
“D-don’t do this.”
“You are only a false emotion, a mind made up of a divine blessing-the ‘Duplicate’ of one of the Five Destructive Holy Principle Swords, Phantom Haze and Purification.”
“N-no. What are you talking about?”
“My name is Frey Streier von Grantz.”
When Nameless told him her name, Rozl’s eyes widened. While stroking his cheek, Nameless puts her mouth to his ear.
“Your name is Rozl Frey von Ingnal. I gave you my name when I breathed life into my shadow. Then I released you into the world as an orphan and had the Muzuk family pick you up.”
The Muzuk family, Vetu, Serphina, and Rozl were merely dancing on Nameless’ palms. Everything was a prelude to the destruction of the Grantz, and the acquisition of the Five Demon Emperor’s Swords was a byproduct of that.
When Nameless raised her arm above her head, a tin cane appeared. The room was filled with an intense light, with the sound of a divine bell, and uncontrollable laughter filled the room.
“Oh… Liz-sama, my comrade, grew up in the same environment as I did. When you “see” it, it’s too late, and you’re stuck in a trap that has layers upon layers of traps.”
A clang. The sound of a bell echoed through the air.
“A new era is dawning, Liz-sama. Let us play the overture of the fall of the Grantz together.”