Interlude: “Empress of the East”
The deafening sound of explosions echoed over and over in the citadel, lit only by moonlight. It’s probably a highly forbidden offensive technique. Secret service reports are coming in late. We had received information that they were going to attack the citadel, so we were well prepared.
The fortress, surrounded by the forest, collapsed in the blink of an eye.
The magicians of the Kingdom of Chiaro Diruna, who were more than fifty meters away from the citadel, were laughing carefree in front of the collapsed fortress, as if they were convinced of the success of their mission.
The woman who had been peeking at the scene from behind a tree in the dark forest – the lioness beastkin – gave a look to her men behind her.
And just when the magicians of the Magic Kingdom were about to relax and leave the scene. A lioness beastkin leapt out from behind a tree and about thirty of her men rushed towards the magicians at once.
A lioness beastkin that approached with a fearsome speed that could not even be compared to a swift horse. She pounced on the magicians who had finally sensed something strange.
“What? Where did they come from?”
“What the hell is going on? ……”
In the blink of an eye, the lioness beastkin attacked the magicians one after the other, slicing through the necks of the two and causing fresh blood to spray.
Their greatest weakness was in close combat. If it was just a battle, the barrier technique could prevent weapon attacks to some extent, but the lioness was a prophet with divine blessings.
A single blow from her claws easily penetrated the wards and dealt a fatal blow to the magicians.
When the panicked magician began to chant to release the forbidden art on the spot, the tiger beastkin that came up behind him smashed the man’s neck bone.
“You’ll get your friends in trouble, too!”
Another weakness of magicians. It is the hesitation in the decision to use a powerful technique.
You can either keep your allies out of it, or you can blow yourself and your allies up.
There are few people who can deal with a high-level decision in a split second – whether to release a technique with determination.
After that, the beastkins, who numbered as many as thirty, slaughtered the magicians, who were composed of the same size, in the blink of an eye.
Some of them are swordsmen who specialize in close combat in case of emergency.
However, the sudden attack by the beastkins scattered their lives in a flash.
It would have taken less than a minute to annihilate a company of magic powers.
Seeing that the person she failed to kill was suffering from lack of oxygen, the lioness beastkin – the Empress of Rezan Grow – took the least she could do and stabbed him through the heart to finish him off.
Purple light overflowed from the bodies of those who had died, and after drifting through the air, it disappeared as if it had been sucked into the earth.
In the midst of this fantastic scene, the tiger beastkin who had approached Rezan said.
“It went well, Ane-san. The fortress was blown up, but no one was injured on our side. The operation was a success.”
“….It looks like. Unlike the barbarians, we beastkins are able to see at night. So they chose to carry out a surprise attack on this full moon night, but thanks to the information we had beforehand, we were saved.”
With auburn wavy hair, Rezan was a female beastkin in her late twenties with a chiseled face.
The folk costume worn by the female beastkin had been modified for easy movement, and her exposed arms were muscular and toned.
The waistband also had a slit in it so as not to interfere with the movement of her legs. The same was true for her legs, which were exposed through the slit.
“But it looks like Chiaro’s people are finally starting to get their act together.”
“They may be in a hurry because they realize that the imperial army and us have teamed up. But if they’re in a hurry to attack, it looks like they’re letting their best men die in vain.”
In the Kingdom of Chiaro Diruna, there are a certain number of people who can freely handle low-level forbidden arts.
On the other hand, no one in the Kingdom of Lugal has any tolerance for magic.
At first glance, they were at an overwhelming disadvantage, but surprisingly, the battle seemed to be in favor of the Kingdom of Lugal.
This time, the people who had charged in were quite capable. Regardless of their physical strength or weakness, they were skilled at manipulating magic. It was inexplicable that they would go to the trouble of raiding us in the middle of the night when the beastmen could see us at night.
“And I can hardly see the magical creatures that the barbarians are good at. At best, there are only a few in the fort over there. What do you think, Jex?”
The cheerful tiger-beastkin lieutenant said as Rezan asked, staring at the fort still engulfed in flames.
“That’s right. I think it’s because they’re afraid of your presence, Ane-san. If they were shown a one-sided slaughter like that, both humans and magical creatures would be scared. We wouldn’t have made it without you.”
“Give me a break, man. I’m not suited for this kind of position. I’m serious than now, I’m asking you. If you keep joking around, I’ll blow your head off too.”
“Oh, ……, you’re so cool. You’re the perfect replacement for the Beast King.”
Jex cowered his shoulders and said jokingly, then suddenly became serious.
“Unless their commander is extremely incompetent, I don’t think this situation is possible. Our casualties are too low.”
“It’s like that. Things are going too well. It’s not impossible for us to take down the barbarians without too much trouble at this rate. But it’s not going to be easy to take down the capital.”
“…. Ane-san, I’m going to ask you one stupid question, what do you think about the possibility that the people of Chiaro don’t want to win from the beginning, and when it comes to a total war, they’ll throw in the [Princess Death] way……”
“Princess Death? Is that the monster from the lore? It’s a ridiculous thing that can kill anyone who sees it or hears its voice in an instant. …… Jex, you can’t be serious. Few people are stupid enough to believe in that kind of lore nowadays.”
It’s a tradition I’ve heard a lot as a child.
When I was a child, I was terrified, but now I am more terrified of the battlefield scene happening in front of me.
It was unexpected that this cheerful, aloof, yet intelligent lieutenant would talk about such a monster that could not possibly exist.
“I think you know that, too. What they say about Chiaro.”
“…… [A Land of the Dead]?”
“Yes, ma’am. In that country, there are too many places that are called forbidden or abominable places. There are a lot of places that even the locals won’t go into. The reason for this is simple: if you go in, you’ll never come out alive again. And. Of all of them, the one that is said to be the most dangerous is [The Coast of Death].”
“It’s true that the northern tip of that country faces the sea. ……”
“I’ve been thinking that there’s a gal out there called the Princess of Death, and she’s going to go into battle and kill all the beastkins who have invaded, including our allies. Well, that’s what I think sometimes.”
“I know you’re a curious person, but there aren’t many people nowadays who believe in such fairy tales.”
“Something like that fairy tale happened in Mildiana, the empire. It’s the case of the Final Droplet.”
Hearing this, Rezan frowned.
The story began with the disappearance of elves in the southern territories of the Empire.
It was said that a series of incidents involving the summoning of demons had already been reported to the people of the Lugal Kingdom.
“I’m afraid that scary fairy tales that our old folks used to tell to shut up the noisy kids come true. Just the other day, an incident that looked exactly like the story that everyone knows actually happened. It is said that Lieutenant General Lambert, one of the five great heroes, took quick action and the damage was minimal, but if he had taken the wrong action, I think Mildiana would have been destroyed without a trace by now.”
“It’s ridiculous, but….. okay. Let’s say that the Death Princess is real. It’s the ultimate weapon of the barbarians, let’s say. If that’s the case, then why do they have to use it in first place? That thing kills all living things around it indiscriminately. Why would they use it here? Did they intend to start a war and then fall together? Isn’t that crazy?”
“It is indeed strange. But….. what do you think is the reason why the Imperial Army is backing us beastkins this time?”
Feeling like she had suddenly been sidetracked, Rezan said with a puzzled look on her face.
“The reason for this is ostensibly to protect the beastkins who are being unjustly humiliated, but really it’s because they want to secure a large amount of magic stones that are essential for the magic guns they are considering equipping in earnest, right?”
“That alone is not enough. If that was really the only purpose, the Imperial Army should have sent the army of the Eastern Territories led by Marshal Burnett, one of the five great heroes. But that’s not all. This time, that country has even dispatched the northern army led by Grand Marshal Darius Severin, which is its own largest force. It’s clearly excessive.”
“I’m surprised to hear that they even sent the Grand Marshal Severin to keep Zenan in a standoff. But what does that have to do with the Princess of Death?”
“The Imperial Army is trying to protect the beastkins and secure the magic stones, and they’re also trying to destroy the worst military weapon of all, the Death Princess. I found that out the other day when I met Grand Marshal Severin and asked him directly. That country really believes in the existence of the Death Princess.”
“Do you really think the Elberia Empire believes that kind of nonsense? On what basis do you ……”
“It’s Lieutenant General Lambert. That man once said in person in front of the Emperor. “The Princess of Death is real,” he said. This is the main reason why the empire is leading a huge army to beat Chiaro. …… Well, now that the emperor has one foot in the grave, he seems to have delegated all authority to the crown prince.”
“One of the heroes who has the blood of intelligent elves is talking nonsense…. Huh, no matter how many emergencies there are, we sent those kids out to a guy like that?”
She remembered the girl, the only survivor of the royal family who was not currently in the empire, and let out a sigh of exasperation.
“So, do you want the Princess of Roka to come home soon?”
“…… She’s our last hope. If possible, I’d even like to see her stay in the Empire until the war is over.”
“I understand how you feel, but I’m afraid that’s impossible. No matter how much we join forces with the Empire, it must be the princess of Roka who finally rides into the capital of Chiaro and raises the head of the royal family. Only then will she be recognized as the Beast King. Whether she will be called the Beast God King or not depends on her achievements after the war.”
“…… What a big role we’ve been forced to play by a kid who’s only been alive for a little over 15 years. It’s the adults who should be playing these roles.”
“Well, it’s still a little while before the Princess of Roka return. There will be In the meantime, I need you to be the empress. There’s no one stronger than you in Lugal right now, you know.”
Rezan’s name as Empress is nothing more than a substitute for the Beast God King or Beast King.
She was chosen only because the strongest person in Lugal today was Rezan, the lion beast.
The name “Empress” was only used in light of the current situation of Lugal.
It was only created in a hurry as a way to unite the beastkins, and Rezan herself does not like to be called that.
“Don’t talk to me like I’m somebody else. When I die, Jex will be next. You’ll take the place of the Empress. Get ready to be called the Emperor.”
“Please don’t tell me that this is a bad omen. I don’t think that kind of role suits me at all. …… I’d be more comfortable as a second-in-command at best.”
“You should also think about playing the role of the emperor after I die. Aside from the story of the Death Princess, anything can happen in this war…… Anybody can die at any time, anywhere.”
As she said this, Rezan suddenly remembered.
“Anyway, I wonder what that “purple light” that overflows from those who died in battle is.”
“I’ve been sharing the information with the people in the empire, but they just say they don’t know. Well, it’s not like it’s the only one we don’t understand in first place. There’s so much going on in this war, I honestly feel like my head is going to explode from confusion.”
“Can’t we go to the Tsefte Aria? They have a lot of old documents. Maybe we’ll able to figure out what that purple light is.”
“Well, that’s not to say I don’t want to do it. I’ll tell you right now, that country is in trouble too.”
“What is it? What’s going on? Why is there a mess everywhere?”
“I’m talking about the start of corrosion. Even though the elven royalty is still alive.”
The Kingdom of Tsefte Aria, where the elves live, is a land of lush greenery.
Among them, the royal capital was a place filled with a very peaceful and pleasant atmosphere, surrounded by large forests and lakes.
Corrosion is not a word that fits that beautiful forest. Rezan closed her eyelids, nostalgic for the past.
“I remember talking to Eynlana old woman when I was a kid. She must have been very old at that time, but I believe she had a daughter after that.”
“Yes. The royal bloodline of Tsefte Aria has not been broken. But the corrosion is slowly starting. …… Ane-san, do you remember? The last sparkle of the red star?”
A complete change from the beautiful forest scene.
The ‘eerie glow’ of that red star came to Rezan’s mind, and she said with a blatant frown.
“Of course it is. Once you’ve seen that creepy phenomenon, you’ll never forget it.”
“I’ve heard that many people in the Empire and Chiaro see the red star as a good omen. I personally want to see it all the time. Isn’t that a beautiful sight?”
I wonder if this is the difference in values.
The starry sky high up in the sky was beautiful, but the sight of dozens or hundreds of red sparkles scattered across it was frightening.
Rezan refused to accept the scene, even to the point of shuddering. It was a fearful thought, but she desperately tried to reason it away.
“…… You’re a strange one, aren’t you?
“I’m a bit of an oddball, you know. But that’s a bad omen, no matter how you look at it. Maybe something worse will happen.”
Jex speaks with a more serious face than ever. She could see that he looked more convinced that it was going to happen than that it might.
“I’ve been surprised enough for the rest of my life in the last few years. I don’t care if the world turns upside down right now, or if the continents sink into the sea, or if the great volcanoes erupt. No matter what happens, I’ll just scramble to my death and scatter on the battlefield. It’s all for the Kingdom of Lugal. For the sake of Lugal, The Beast God King.”
(TL: Lugal is the founder of Kingdom of Lugal, it revealed in foot note in previous chapter by author)
“Ane-san. You can’t do that. That line may sound nice, but it sounds like you’re just saying that you want to push all the troublesome things to your subordinates and get the hell out of all.”
I thought I had made a good decision, but Jex huffed and chuckled.
It seems that with this man in front of me, I can’t hide anything.
“You’re very perceptive. I’m tired of it, you know. –I dream about it every day. I dream every day of the good times we had during the brief, peaceful peace treaty between Lugal and Chiaro.”
“Princess Roka and Shaula were just kids back then. In particular, the princess was only naughty and innocent,…… she was not the kind of kid who harbored an unconcealed desire to kill like she does now.”
“Yeah. She was always smiling and laughing, and treated royalty, nobility, commoners, and slaves the same way. In addition, she was good friends with the princess of Chiaro. …… Those were peaceful days, indeed.”
Rezan said uncomfortably and crossed her arms.
“It’s bad to be immersed in old tales, but it may be time to bring back the princess.”
“I didn’t expect the war situation to change like this just a few months after we sent her off. If the imperial army joins us here, we’ll have a good opportunity to take down the barbarians’ capital in one fell swoop.”
Rezan and the others were already within sight of the Kingdom of Chiaro Diruna.
They would continue to defend until the imperial army was ready, and when the opportunity arose, they would attack from the east of the empire and Lugal all at once.
“…… Do you think Roka is getting stronger?”
“You’re talking about power? Well, I’m sure they’ve gotten remarkably strong, even in this short time. When I told her to stay in the empire for a while, I had to go through a lot of trouble to control the rampaging princess.”
“Maybe she’s already stronger than you…. No, maybe she’s even stronger than me. It looks like Lugal, the Beast God King has given a blessing to that child.”
“I’m sure she’s living a boring life in the Empire. But, …… Ane-san, I beg you, even if Princess Roka returns, please don’t ‘lose’ until the war with Chiaro is over.”
“I can’t guarantee it. That child’s power and way of thinking are monsters. If we’re not careful, we won’t be able to hold her even if we’re all together…. Do you remember when the barbarians raided the camp she was in?”
“I wanted to think it was a dream or something, but it’s useless. That night was no different from a nightmare.”
“I feel the same with you. She’s still immature. She’s still inexperienced, but he’s got a monster deep inside her that’s even more fierce than us. If it weren’t for that, she wouldn’t have messed up the bodies of the barbarians she beat back so badly.”
Remembering the scene at the time, even the quintessential Rezan couldn’t help but feel nauseous.
At that time, Roka had slaughtered the soldiers of the Kingdom of Chiaro Diruna and played with their corpses.
She didn’t show any hesitation. But she didn’t laugh either. It was as if she was simply dismantling a piece of meat.
“If Ane-san loses, the princess will certainly become a tyrant. Which may have a negative impact on the joint front with the Empire.”
“There are a lot of problems. Well, I guess the most important thing right now is the battle situation at hand. Jex, tell them to do another sweep of the perimeter. We won’t be sleeping for the next few days.”
“Hey, hey. Isn’t that too cruel?”
Jex complained, but since he was used to being unreasonable, he didn’t say anything more and went to give instructions to the beastkins under his command.