Translator: Silver Editor: Namorax
The Holy Leburan Empire, of the eastern region of the Northern Continent.
The Imperial capital of Habaren was truly the center of this large nation, thanks in no small part to the several major highways that connected it to the rest of the nation.
Currently, a heavily armed squadron was traveling down the southeastern highway.
There were a few mounted troops leading the group, but the squad was mostly composed of infantry who guarded the horse-drawn carriage and the numerous carts that followed it.
They squadron marching down the highway created a truly grandiose sight.
Near the center of the group was a luxurious four horse-drawn carriage.
The black carriage was adorned with the crest of the Valetiafelbe imperial family, the current rulers of the empire.
However, only two maids rode in the luxurious carriage, the emperor was nowhere to be seen inside.
Far ahead of the nearly empty luxurious carriage a thirty man cavalry equipped with excellent saddles carried on unobscured.
Within this group, one man grasped the reins of a marvellous black horse.
A young red-haired rider wore a slightly less ornamental military uniform than the other cavalryman in the formation.
His name was Domitianus Leburan Valetiafelbe.
The young emperor of the Holy Leburan Empire.
A large middle-aged man rode up next to Domitianus and spoke into the emperor’s ear with a worried expression on his face.
“Your Majesty, is this really alright? Despite being within our own territory, what if an assassin ambushes us while you’re still out in the open?”
Domitianus simply chuckled when he heard that.
“Like you said, we’re still in our territory. There’s no need to be so nervous. Besides, the box back there has a large name tag on it, who would expect that I’d be mixed in with the soldiers? Hehehe.”
“No, that’s, ……hmm, I suppose so.”
The middle-aged man struggled to say anything against the emperor’s statement.
Domitianus simply shrugged his shoulders at the man’s worries.
“Staying inside that carriage is rather tedious. Besides, my well being is what you’re here for, right?”
The emperor’s smile became more mischievous as he looked towards the middle-aged man.
“Yes! Of course Your Majesty! We well stake are lives on……”
When the man tried to Domitianus bow his head while still on horseback, the emperor thrust his rider’s crop into his throat.
“Stop Stop. Do you intend to give me away? Hihihi”
The man slightly bowed his head as the emperor laughed at him.
As a way to change the topic, the man glanced back of the forces behind them.
“It’s quite amazing that the army had twenty-two thousand troops to spare……”
The emperor smiled at the man’s statement and nodded his head.
“I am personally ensuring that the Tishen campaign is going well. That old man of the west has his ass rooted to his chair and would never venture onto the frontline. It is time to put an end to him.”
The surrounding people nodded at the emperor’s statement.
However, the middle-aged man only groaned.
“General Keling of the southern army will come first……”
“Hehehe, It’s been a while. I’ll be sure to bring his head back to Verumoas as a gift for looking after the capital.”
Domitianus’ hand fell to the sword at his waist as he floated a fearless smile after making that declaration.
The emperor had
just implicated that he would kill the general with his own hands.
The middle-aged man toward away for the brave young emperor and looked towards the western sky and the battles to come.
“Even if twenty-thousand soldiers join the army, it will still be a difficult fight.”
“Hmm, the current operation should have gotten Aspania to move. Those guys should have taken the opportunity to test the bounds on their side. The West can not afford to move their other armies for the time being.”
Once the conversation was over, the corners of emperor Domitianus’ mouth rose as he looked towards the far-off battles.
The majority of humans on the Northern Continent followed the Hiruku religion.
The person standing at the top of the religion was the Pope of the Hiruku Theocracy. The theocracy was surrounded by the Delfrent, Nozan, and Salma Kingdoms and was separated from the Great Leburan Empire by a narrow channel.
The Hiruku Theocracy’s capital had been built at the base of Mt. Arthus of the Rooteos Mountain Range, mainly for the ease of access to the massive mithril deposit the mountain housed.
A massive cathedral that had been built atop the overlooking cliff that rested halfway up Mt. Arthus.
It was referred to as the Arthus Cathedra.
This cathedral acted as Pope Thanatos Shirubiwes Hiruku’s residence.
However, the number of those allowed to set foot on the sanctuary’s gourds was extremely limited.
The luxurious decoration of the cathedral’s interior showed off the church’s strength…… a certain room built in the back of the cathedral was particularly gorgeous.
The ceiling was three times higher that one of a common house, every inch of the floor was covered by an embroidered carpet and each piece of furniture had been handcrafted by skilled artisans.
The centerpiece of the room was a large circular table which had six people in luxurious attire sitting at it and talking amongst themselves.
“Apparently, Cardinal Industria, who had had been placed in charge of the Tajiento colony on the Southern Continent, was slain.”
The latest speaker, who was a man in his thirties, had a rather mild smile on his face, black neatly trimmed hair, and wore heavy, modified priest robes.
He was none other than cardinal Palermo Avaritia Liberalitas.
In the Hiruku Theocracy, those who received one of the seven cardinal names worked directly beneath the Pope, and this man had received the name Liberalitas.
However, he wasn’t the only cardinal present.
A considerably well-built man snorted his nose at Liberalitas’ comment.
He was around hundred and ninety centimeters tall, blonde stubble grew on his face, and his physique made one believe he wore a military uniform instead of the robes that he was actually wearing.
However, his expression was haggard and large bags rested under his eyes.
“Hmph…… Charos was the weakest amongst us…… To be defeated by a nobody only brings shame to the cardinals. That man was always unmotivated anyway. Since the seat of Industria is vacant, I’ll advise the Pope to place a more capable person into it.”
The man that voiced his complaints was cardinal Marcos Invidia Humanitas.
The only woman in the room chuckled his suggestion before speaking.
“Ara, are you dissatisfied with the Pope’s selections? Have you lost fate in the Pope’s judgment?”
In spite of the woman’s graceful features and blond hair, she wore revealing white clothes that emphasized her large breasts, and the hem of her skirt slid up to a nearly obscene level as she sat with one of her legs crossed over the other.
She looked into cardinal Humanitas’ eyes with a captivating smile on her face.
“I did not mean it that way, I’m simply pointing out Charos’ incompetence……”
Despite his large build, cardinal Humanitas struggled to come up with the right words while looking around the room, only letting out a relieved sigh after confirming Pope Thanatos wasn’t here.
An old gray-haired man’s wrinkles became more pronounced as he closed his eyes after watching the scene play out.
“Only those who can endure the blessings of the underworld can obtain the seat of a cardinal. There’s no problem with his decisions, given the limited number of candidates. Even if current evidence suggest that the person selected couldn’t meet the expectations of the status.”
The man crossed his arms after speaking his piece was well into his fifties.
However, even though he wore luxurious priest robes, the hard-bitten muscle below the neckline hinted at a physique more impressive than Cardinal Humanitas
His name was Cardinal August Ira Paciencia.
Cardinal Humanitas was openly angered by that remark.
“What!? Are you implying that I’m not fit to hold my seat!?”
“Nobody said that. Is there something we’re unaware of that would make us think that?”
Cardinal Paciencia calmly asked that question after closing his eyes.
“How about we stop this particular conversation for now? You muscle-heads will continue back and forth with this if we let you. In any case, I’m interested in the white and silver knight who defeated Charos.”
The sharp-tongued individual that broke off the argument was, in stark contrast to the other two men, a slender man wearing black rimmed glasses. That, combined with his shaved head, made him seem the most befitting of the robes he wore.
This man was Cardinal Bart Superbia Humilitas.
While fiddling with the dull iron ring he attempted to turn the conversation towards the man that killed Charos.
“Fine, do as you please!”
Both Cardinal Paciencia and Cardinal Humanitas directed their anger towards Humilitas, while Cardinal Castitas shrugged her shoulders and brought up another topic.
“By the way, what is it you have been messing around with?”
Despite her speaking in a flirtatious manner, Cardinal Humanitas paid it no mind, instead, showing great pleasure from receiving the question itself.
“This? This is an item created in the Eastern Empire. They call it the 『Ring of Submission』. These allow them to control monsters.”
Cardinal Humanitas’ explanation made Cardinal Castitas remember something about the location he had recently visited.
“Ah yes, Cardinal Humanitas did visit magisterium of the Holy Leburan Empire.”
“I personally visited them because those placed in charge weren’t doing all that well recently.”
After providing Cardinal Castitas with a satisfactory answer Cardinal Humanitas exaggeratedly shrugged his shoulder and looked at the five other people in the room.
His eyes stopped and focused one one person in particular.
“How long are you going to sit there eating?”
Cardinal Humanitas pushed up his glasses and called out to the boy that had been stuffing his face since the beginning of the meeting and hadn’t said a single word yet.
The boy was actually one of the several cardinals, Cardinal Tismo Gala Temperantia.
However, the boy only looked confused for a moment before resuming his meal without answering.
The other cardinal collectively shrugged their shoulders and sighed.
“You all seem to be getting along well……”
A different calm voice was heard entering the room.
All six cardinals got up from the table and kneeled down when they heard the voice.
“You grace us with your presence, Pope Thanatos.”
The man’s, whose entrance had been undetected, nodded at the cardinals’ greeting before sitting down in an elevated chair at the round table.
The Pope wore a set of robes more spectacular than the cardinals wore and held a decorated scepter that represented his power.
On the Pope’s head sat a mitre with multiple holy symbols sewn into it that only he was allowed to wear. The mitre’s veil totally concealed the Pope’s face.
The six cardinals continued to kneel as the one that united the Hiruku Theocracy, Pope Thanatos Shirubiwes Hiruku, took his seat.
After looking down at the people gathered from behind his veil, Pope Thanatos began to speak.
“Everyone seems to be gathered. You should have already been informed that Cardinal Industria has been slain on the Southern Continent.”
The Pope paused for a moment to look around again before continuing.
“He still carried out his duties to the best of his abilities. The Tajiento territory of the Western Empire was heavily damaged, but considering that the destruction could have been potentially more devastating, we couldn’t have asked any more from him.”
A tired chuckle managed to slip past the veil.
The Cardinals were utterly surprised by this.
“The balance between the empires has shifted in favor of the east. It’s possible to earnestly stimulate things in Delfrent, Nozan and Salma while this window remains open. Everyone, please.”
The Cardinals lowered their heads again and replied in unison.
The Pope nodded in satisfaction before getting up and leaving the room.
The Pope’s muffled laughter was the only sound to fill the corridor as he left the room.
“…… A big event has finally arrived. Hehehe.”
As the Pope’s laughter continued to leak out, it startled small bird in a nearby window and sending it flying into the sky above the mountain range.
However, dark clouds started to form over the Rooteos Mountain Range.