Hey everyone, hope you’re well!
Including the patreon releases, we just reached the 100th chapter today, so yay to that!
Anyway, here is today’s chapter, I hope you’ll enjoy it!
【”Seems like this matter has taken a ridiculous turn.”】
The emperor of the Asgard empire, Heimdall, was poking the armrest of his seat with his finger from frustration.
However, he showed much less irritation in his expression than his gesture would suggest.
At the end of the day, all of this was naught more than a mere play for him.
No sooner than the day before, the marquis of Strasbourg, Albert, had sent a messenger asking for Heimdall to secretly open the border.
This sounded absurd to Heimdall.
Was this the same Albert who had once claimed he would take over Jormugnand and cooperate with the Asgard empire to take over the world?
There was not a chance that Felbell would be the next heir to the throne, and Albert had not only lost his influence in the palace, he was now even making a gamble with his life by turning against his kingdom.
Heimdall no longer had any interest in him.
【”―― There is always the option of letting him fend for himself, but…”】
The first minister, Mathias, was not as disinterested as Heimdall, but even he could not assess what had brought all these changes.
Albert once had control over most of Jormungand’s nobles, but now not even 10% of them were on his side, his own family included.
It was quite clear that he would be destroyed very soon without Asgard’s support.
As the husband of the first princess, Felbell, people’s evaluation of him tended to lean toward beings exaggeratedly positive.
But now that all chances of succeeding the throne had disappeared, the act of siding with Albert would be suicidal for Jormungand’s nobles.
(Abandoning him wouldn’t be all that bad.)
Facing Albert’s men would tire out Jormungand’s forces for sure, and once his household would be destroyed, the kingdom would have to put a new lord in charge of his territory.
Dealing with confrontations over territorial interests and taking over the population of a fallen lord would be a lot of excruciating work.
In other words, abandoning Albert would be nothing but profitable for the Asgard empire.
But that did not mean that abandoning him was the best choice.
Albert’s incompetence aside, if the Asgard empire cut off ties with him so easily, it would become difficult for them to get anyone from inside Jormungand to betray their kingdom.
Besides, the Asgard empire going through great lengths to help their ally cross the border unharmed would be an appealing story.
The only issue was that Albert was much more foolish than expected. It didn’t feel right to let him have his way and lend him a hand like he hoped, but it had to be done.
【”…Leave this matter to me.”】
【”Presumptuous! The east is the first army’s territory, Skuld!”】
Mathias curtly rebuked the mad princess, Skuld Beweldshteim, as she merrily tried to exceed her authority.
This warmonger had the bad habit of trying to fight strong enemies whenever the opportunity presented itself.
Her army, in charge of the south, was currently on standby. It certainly was possible for her to make a sortie.
However, she could not be allowed to take the vanguard over the first army at the east.
After all, the first army, led by Gunther Olbrink, was the strongest army of the empire.
【”Gunther, let me take your place. I want to meet that absurdly strong Kurats from the rumors.”】
For several weeks, a strange rumor had been rapidly spreading in the Asgard empire.
Apparently, some of the surviving members of the destroyed fourth army of Asgard had shown themselves in terrified states in front of their colleagues and families, like they’d had a visit from the god of death at night.
That man was a freak of nature.
His magic was abnormal on its own, but above even that were his terrifying displays of superhuman physical violence.
The investigation made under Heimdall’s orders had revealed that the mage who had saved Lunaria was that very same person, Kurats.
The investigation had also revealed that his adoptive mother, whom he claimed had taught him magic, was actually a mere mercenary who could not handle magic in any way.
This man was truly shrouded in mystery.
It could be argued that Lapland’s victory against the fourth army was basically owed to him alone.
He was true one-man army; a man who could hold his own against thousands.
To say that that was false or just a front was something that not even Mathias, whose boldness knew no bounds, could declare.
【”The defeat in Lapland has brought unrest to our forces. Before anything else, getting a win is our highest priority,.”】
【”About that, I also believe you should consider letting Skuld go ahead.”】
It was rare for the demon swordsman, Gunther Olbrink, to state his opinion in the war council like so.
Though his voice usually did not show a single inflection or emotion, he seemed to be enjoying himself today.
Heimdal observed this rarely seen change in Gunther with great interest.
【”I don’t care what you say! Sorry, but this is my prey!”】
【”I was agreeing with you…”】
Gunther was a specialist when it came to battle in a different meaning than Skuld.
The defining difference being that what he valued above all was not the battle itself but victory.
Skuld’s mind was filled with nothing but a romanticized perception of conflicts.
If she could fight a powerful enemy, then she would be satisfied even if she lost, and somewhere in her heart, she actually wanted to meet a man stronger than herself.
Some rumors claimed that she was looking for a partner who could allow her to carry an offspring stronger than herself.
But Gunther considered this sort of romanticism to be poison for the mind.
He was the type of person who actively sought strength solely to bring down his enemies.
His personality was likely the reason why Skuld hadn’t shown any interest in him, despite him being strong.
Even so, even if some would say he was cowardly, Gunther was afraid of losing more than anything in the world.
That was why he constantly tried to make himself stronger, on top of being willing to use any cowardly means as long as it meant he wouldn’t lose.
In other words, Gunther considered there was currently too little information about Kurats and was therefore trying to use Skuld as a guinnea pig.
Well aware of the personalities of these subordinates, Mathias knew what they were thinking, but he still approved. He thought it was not a bad common ground to settle on.
Up to now, the empire had amassed great influence through their perfect streak of wins.
That being the case, the one defeat in Lapland had had a tremendous effect on them.
Asgard could not afford to spare the years it would take in order to wipe away the aftermath of that hit to their reputation.
After all, the empire’s true ambition was not something as trivial as simply occupying Jormungand or Lapland.
Taking over the continent and leading the decisive battle against the monster-kind, the enemy of humanity: that was the empire’s ultimate goal.
【”I’m not letting you take the whole army with you.”】
【”I’d like to pick 5000 of them then.”】
Though Skuld had a wry smile as she asked Heimdall for permission, that expression turned into an enraptured grin once she bowed low enough that her mouth was out of sight.
The south army, led by Skuld, was the empire’s second army.
It was a force of 40,000 soldiers, among which were 5000 elite soldiers who answered directly to Skuld.
They were the “Red hunting corps”.
As long as she could lead those 5000 soldiers, Skuld was confident she would not know defeat even against an army of 30,000.
【”I’ll allow it. The marquis of Strasbourg is probably miserable as we speak, you must depart quickly.”】
【”Your wish is my command.”】
With her blonde hair combed up, Skuld showed the most beautiful of smiles.
That was not the smile of a warrior heading to battle.
It was the beautiful smile of a large, blooming flower, the likes of which one would witness at a royal court’s dinner party.