Here’s the chapter, enjoy~
Chapter 3 – Snake Queen
The sun rising in the east illuminates the surface of the sea.
The sea breeze glides across the sea, and if it were not out of season, it would even be considered breezy.
However, it is winter now. The fresh air in summer turns to cold air in winter.
This is especially true along the coast.
The wind is strong and takes away your body heat, and the smell of the sea is so strong that it offends your sense of smell and rusts the precious metals you wear.
There are several fishing villages along the coastline of Scorpius, one of the countries of the Six Kingdoms.
Even though it is early in the morning, there are only a few boats anchored in the harbor, as if they are already out fishing.
Shifting the gaze slightly, one can clearly see white sails scattered on the surface of the sea. People are passing by on the boats, and the fishermen are working lively. While they were busy fishing, the army of the Anguis Kingdom was moving southward along the road.
It was December 1st, 1026th year of the imperial calendar.
The Anguis army led by Lucia had embarked on a campaign to defeat the long-eared tribe, which had been oppressing the humans in the name of the Unified King, but she had faced many hardships on her way to this point.
First, Lucia aimed at weakening the long-eared people within the Six Kingdoms.
To this end, she lured the “Black Dragon King,” king of the small country of Baum, and the Sixth Princess of the Great Grantz Empire to the Six Kingdoms, putting the very survival of the country in jeopardy. The plan was a great success, and Lucia was able to use the Grantz to reduce the strength of the long-eared people without damaging the strength of the Anguis. The death of the unified king was also a tailwind, and many of the long-eared people were eliminated as insurgents. Without stopping her momentum, Lucia led her army southward to seize the Six Kingdoms, and now they were about to pass through the territory of Scorpius.
As expected, there was little resistance from the long-eared people until this point.
Lucia had already disposed of most of the kings of the long-eared people by using the Grantz army, and many of the long-eared people tried to escape from the Six Kingdoms by spreading the word in advance that they would start their southward march. Countries without leaders readily surrendered. Lucia was not met with any resistance, and the only country left was Tigris, the last country in the Six Kingdoms.
“Lucia-sama, it looks like we are about to leave Scorpius.”
A frivolous-looking man, Seleucus, a member of Lucia’s entourage, looked out the window in the carriage and said that.
In front of the seat he is sitting in, Lucia has her arms crossed and her eyes closed. She had been sleepless for a long time with all sorts of scheming and intrigue until she got here.
Seleucus chuckled as he realized that it was understandable that Lucia had fallen asleep, but when he looked at her, he saw that her eyes were narrowed like those of a snake, and she was trying to appeal to him.
“Don’t be mistaken. I am not sleeping.”
“Oh, really? You were drooling and snoring, so I thought you must have fallen asleep.”
“You are still a man of few words, aren’t you? That is why you always let the women in love with you get away.”
“…Lucia-sama has a lot to say, as usual. I’m glad to see that you’re not half asleep.”
“Sigh, I saw a man with a face so somber that it didn’t seem appropriate on a quiet morning. How could I be sleepy?”
After a few moments of mutual mockery, Seleucus suddenly realized. There is no end in sight anymore. Lucia, his lord, would never break. Seleucus decided that if they continued to exchange expletives for too long, he might be beheaded, and he indicated his surrender with a sigh.
“…..What have you been thinking about for so long that you haven’t slept?”
Seleucus mixed in sarcasm while changing the subject, and Lucia, her cheeks twitching, began to cut to the chase without getting angry.
“…I was just deeply moved that I finally made it this far.”
“Hmm, it sure has been a rough road.”
Seleucus has been serving Lucia for a long time, but consistently her purpose has not changed since they first met.
Whether that is truly her true intention or not, he is not sure,
“To an ordinary person like me, Lucia-sama’s plans are too grandiose for me to grasp.”
Seleucus is not able to read too deeply into what Lucia is thinking.
She is very good at hiding things. She lies about her true feelings so that they will not be known.
That is why she is cursed by the royalty and nobility of various countries for being as cunning as a snake. Some even called her a traitor to the “human race” because of her rise to prominence in the midst of the growing dominance of the long-eared people. Even so, Lucia silently accepted the accusations and proceeded with her plan without any rebuttal. She would wait for her prey to weaken and then slowly and steadily tighten her grip on it while keeping the poison in her body. The long and arduous plan to avoid being noticed finally paid off this time.
“If someone has as much wisdom as Lucia-sama, I think she would have had less trouble if she had abandoned the Six Kingdoms and become an officer in another country.”
Even before Lucia was born, the evil hand of the long-eared people had been extended to the Six Kingdoms. When she took over the throne, the Six Kingdoms were already under the control of the long-eared people, and the situation surrounding Lucia was extremely severe. Even so, she chose to persevere and is here today, but it is not difficult to imagine that her brain would have been valued in other countries without having to go through such a troublesome situation. If that is the case, why did she continue to stay in the Six Kingdoms? It was because the title of “royalty” had become a mere formality since the long-eared people had taken over all the royal families. Seleucus had always wanted to ask why she had chosen such a difficult path.
“Why, you ask…? Seleucus, do you know how the Six Kingdoms were founded?”
“It began when the third emperor’s younger brother, disgusted with the policy of exclusion of other races, rebelled against it but was beaten back and fled to the west, didn’t it?”
“That’s right, and together with the descendants of the Five Black Heavenly Generals, he founded the Six Kingdoms. He wants to build up his power and eventually destroy the Grantz.”
“Even after a thousand years and some challenges… we still lost…”
The Six Kingdoms almost lost the Kingdom of Azel due to a revenge war against the failed invasion of Grantz, with the liberation of the Kingdom of Felzen as the cause. A truce agreement was concluded with Grantz, which saved the day, and they took advantage of the battle to eliminate the leaders of the long-eared people who had taken over the countries, but this also meant that the Six Kingdoms’ strength was reduced, and it would not be an exaggeration to say that they were defeated if the damage from the Grantz invasion was included.
“It doesn’t matter. No matter how many wars we lose, no matter how bitterly we suffer, as long as the Six Kingdoms exist, we will win.”
“What do you mean?”
“Haven’t you ever wondered why there are Six Kingdoms and why the emperor’s younger brother gave birth to the Six Kingdoms?”
“It is simple… It’s because they are the countries of the Five Black Heavenly Generals and the emperor’s younger brother, isn’t it?”
“No, it is not. There are only three countries ruled by the descendants of the Five Black Heavenly Generals. It’s a bit shortsighted to use them as the reason for the founding of the country.”
“Then what is it?”
“Look at the flag. Look at my flags and the flag of Greif. Think of the flags of other countries.”
The flag of Greif is the eagle-lion, the flag of Anguis is the snake, the flag of Asel is the donkey, the flag of Urpeth is the fox, the flag of Tigris is the tiger, the flag of Scorpius is the goat, and each of them is flying a national creature.
Seleucus folded his fingers as he tried to picture them but looked at Lucia as if to say he had no idea. The answer was a look of dismay and triumph. Lucia leaned forward and brought her face close to Seleucus.
“The eagle lion is a symbol of pride, and the snake is envy. Go on, then, give me your answer.”
“The donkey is the sloth, and the fox is the greed… Oh… the seven deadly sins?”
“What does it matter? What’s more, there are only six.”
Seleucus stared at Lucia with bitterness in his gaze, but she seemed to have a headache because he was so perceptive and put her hand on her forehead while pointing her fingertips to the east.
“It’s in the east, isn’t it? The country that everyone knows.”
“Grantz is a lion. It’s the same as Greif, isn’t it?”
“East of that, to where the Spirit King resides.”
“The small country of Baum, I see. The Black Dragon’s emblem flag, the wrath, is it not?”
Seleucus seemed to notice something after saying that, and turned his face to Lucia with a sudden look.
“But the small country of Baum also flies the crest flag of the balance… what is the meaning of that?”
“Heaven or hell――the final judgment, the sins the Grantz has borne, the seven sins to be weighed.”
“…..Who makes the final decision?”
Seleucus swallowed his spit and cleared his throat, waiting for Lucia to speak, but she merely shrugged her shoulders.
“Well, I don’t know that much.”
“Eh? After all this time, that won’t do.”
“Hmph, anyway, the reason the Six Kingdoms were founded was so that the Grantz could not forget the sins they had committed. If the Grantz forgets their sins, they must be punished. That is why the Six Kingdoms cannot perish, and no matter what happens, they must survive and continue to tell the sins of the Grantz to future generations. And when Grantz falls, the Six Kingdoms will also come to an end.”
“It’s like a curse. I didn’t realize we had to abide by such a thing even after a thousand years.”
“It has lasted for a thousand years, so it is already a powerful curse. The emperor’s younger brother founded the Six Kingdom for that reason alone. As long as the Grantz existed―he must have had a great deal of resentment towards the third emperor of the Grantz.”
“He was the one who created the policy of exclusion of other races, wasn’t he? I’m sure he was carrying quite a grudge, but I wouldn’t want the descendants to get involved, too.”
Sighing tiredly, Seleucus rests his back against the wall before turning his gaze to Lucia.
“So, are you going to defend the old-fashioned traditions left behind by our ancestors, Lucia-sama?”
“The Anguis royal family is envious because they are serpents, and this is an inescapable fate that is engraved in my blood. In such a situation, the sixth princess Celia Estrella, who is younger than me, is about to take the throne of the emperor. I cannot stand idly by and watch. Above all, I do not want to hand over the role of guiding the Grantz to my children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, or even great-great-grandchildren. They will say that I was incompetent.”
“Is that what the unified king is for?”
“Yes, I want to be the one to destroy the Grantz.”
Lucia, her face hidden by an iron fan, begins to laugh.
“Kukuku, I’ll be the one to have the last laugh.”
Lucia’s shoulders were shaking, but she closed the fan as if to brace herself and looked out the window with her usual queenly expression.
“From here on, it’s a race against time. The Vanir Three Kingdoms, the “Spirit Wall,” and the rebellion in the north.”
Lucia’s mouth hung open as she pointed her iron fan to the east.
“To far-off heights.”