Chapter 109: 061. Angel of Death -1 (Part One)
Humite’s citizens were getting really pumped up.
The military inspection-cum-parade had come to an end and various competitions got underway.
The academy’s students who were mastering magic eagerly displayed the breadth and scope of their talents, while those walking on the path of the sword began sparring against each other as the spectators watched on.
Even regular citizens participated in various competitions and managed to win a few prizes along the way.
The citizens enjoyed the festivities and continued spending wonderful time while forgetting about their anxiety over the war.
Charlotte, who was quietly observing them, shifted her gaze away. She was sitting on a bench, waiting to enter one of the competitions. Her eyes now rested on a large box next to her.
This was the present Oscal talked about, delivered through Harman earlier. While still sitting on the bench, she opened the lid of the large box and her eyes instantly opened wider at its contents.
A set of white-coloured armour meant for women could be found inside.
The set consisted of a metal plate wrapped around the chest area, plus clothing made out of unknown monster hide. The armour seemed to be crafted with maximum focus on usability and effective performance.
While she stared at the armour in stupor, Harman walked up to her. “That armour set was crafted by the dwarves in the Hilda territory. It seems that his majesty commissioned for its creation right after meeting you, Charlotte.”
“But… something as valuable as this is…”
Charlotte longingly stroked the armour’s surface.
“It simply goes to show how much the Imperial Family thinks of you as an indispensable talent.”
This was rather vexing from Charlotte’s perspective, since it wasn’t the Imperial Family she wished to serve.
Harman must’ve read what she was thinking right now, because he said something else as well. “They are well aware of what you wish to do. So, do not be unduly burdened by this gesture.”
“…Actually, your rank is far higher than mine, so for me to offer you a word of advice like this is a little against the decorum, but well…”
Charlotte smiled wryly before asking Harman. “Do you mind if I try it on?”
“There should be a waiting room nearby. You may be able to change your attire there. You can show your new armour to his highness later on too. I’m sure he’ll be pleased.”
A bright smile spread on Charlotte’s face the moment she heard that.
She easily lifted up the box that looked fairly heavy even for an adult man, and with airy steps, she headed straight to the aforementioned waiting room.
Harman watched her leave and smiled wryly.
A girl so much younger than him was now his superior. Honestly, he didn’t care about this point all that much, but what he did mind about was her true ‘identity’.
It was too late to go back now, though.
If the truth somehow got out, then Harman wouldn’t have any excuses to defend himself with when his entire family and even the in-laws got punished for the crime of deceiving the imperial court.
He couldn’t help but massage his forehead.
‘If his majesty learns about Charlotte’s true background, then my head will swiftly roll off my neck.’
Harman made up his mind to take this secret all the way to his grave.
The citizens were joyously laughing away. They watched on as the participants of a marathon panted laboriously while running on the streets of Humite.
One of the runners stopped running altogether after sheer fatigue overtook him.
“Argh, I give up! I can’t go on anymore. Fuu-woo…”
Unlike his declaration of giving up, though, he was making a refreshed expression as he plopped down on the ground. He wiped away some of the sweat trickling down his body and looked around, only to tilt his head this way and that.
He spotted a massive ‘animal’ in an alleyway.
There was a lion as well as a lamb. Then, next to the creatures were some people who seemed to be the animal trainers, judging from their black robes, and the whips and staves held in their hands.
Who were they? Did a circus troupe also get invited to perform today?
Just who could they be? Even if the animals were tamed, how could anyone think that it was a good idea to let loose such a powerful predator like that?
However, something… didn’t seem quite right about those animals.
The lamb’s head was actually attached to the lion’s body, and its tail was a snake.
Even the other citizens flinched in surprise and stared at this bizarre lifeform. Just as they began realising what it was, the ‘chimera’ opened its maw wide, and then… pounced on the citizens, literally biting their heads off.
Screams resounded out.
People began running away in panic.
As for the ‘trainers’ surrounding the chimera – or more correctly, the Necromancers kitted out in black robes, they raised their heads.
“…It’s finally begun.”
“Our Chaos plan.”
“Sow as much terror, chaos, and confusion in the city…!”
Necromancers gathered demonic energy on their staves and then slammed them down on the ground.
Allen Olfolse and Ruppel’s faces hardened instantly. Even Oscal Baldur, who was next to them, couldn’t stop his eyes from opening wider.
Every noble present in the banquet hall flinched in surprise and began touching their ears. The voice hadn’t been physically transmitted to them, but instead rang directly inside their heads. None of them could tell where it came from.
However, Allen could already tell merely from the stench alone.
…The front yard of the residence.
The undead Lich, wearing a loose-fitting robe and surrounded by a group of Necromancers, was openly striding in through the front gate.
The Lich, Nasus, wielded its staff and cocked its head as eerie crimson light gushed out from its eye sockets.
It was truly flabbergasting. Just with what confidence were they brazenly entering the residence?
The Paladins of the Golden Cross reached down to the hilts of their swords as soon as the enemies made an entrance. However, since Oscal hadn’t given his order yet, they held back and simply observed the unfolding situation for the time being.
The reason for the brazen appearance of the Lich and its cohorts must be that they felt a need to hold a conversation first.
“It’s a Lich!”
The banquet hall became noisy in an instant.
The nobles began stumbling back in fear. As if wanting to escape from here, they hurriedly searched for an exit.
But then, more Necromancers rushed out from the residence’s interior. No one could even begin to guess just how they managed to infiltrate the personal residence of an Imperial Prince like this.
“All of you, be silent!”
The Necromancers pointed with their staves, silencing the nobles in an instant.
Oscal furrowed his brows and turned his head. He was greeted by the sight of special envoy Haima pointing a short dagger at Ruppel’s throat.
As for Ruppel’s mother, Rose Darina – the black-haired maid flinched in surprise and hurriedly hid behind her. Unlike all the other nobles with pale faces, a thick smile was etched on Rose’s face.
Haima roared out. “None of you move! If you wish to save the Imperial Prince, do not move a muscle!”
Oscal couldn’t help but tilt his head.
He found it a little hard to understand this situation.
Were they not the Black Order? Why were they taking Ruppel hostage, their own collaborator?
What was going on here? Could it be that Ruppel and Aslan were not working together after all?
No, that couldn’t be it.
This had to be nothing more than a ‘ruse’. The thought dismayed Oscal somewhat. Did Ruppel really think he’d be able to stop the Golden Cross by taking himself hostage?
Oscal shook his head.
Indeed, he wouldn’t have been able to make any moves if Ruppel was a hostage. But that story only applied before the crimes of ‘treason’.
The current Oscal Baldur would not be punished for taking Ruppel’s head in the case of an emergency.
The Paladins of the Golden Cross glanced at Oscal, waiting for his next command.
He was pondering his options.
The Holy Emperor did tell him this, didn’t he?
‘…That it didn’t matter even if one or two of his limbs are missing, as long as he’s still breathing.’
That was why…
Oscal reached down and grasped the hilt of his sword.
For now, he’d let Ruppel live. It wouldn’t matter much even if the traitor’s arm or a leg went missing in the process.
The other Golden Cross knights followed his example and started unsheathing their swords.
Both Ruppel and Haima flinched at this sight and their expressions hardened.
Haima roared out again. “Didn’t I tell you to not make any moves?! You need to stay quietly in this place, otherwise, if you don’t…!”
Oscal responded with a grin. “You want us to behave ourselves? What a laughable notion that is. Is that something a man pointing a blade to an Imperial Prince’s throat should be saying? This is clearly an ‘open declaration of war’. Not only do we have plenty of eyewitnesses…”
He then pointed to the Magicians at the centre of the banquet hall.
“…This whole spectacle is being recorded live as well. I’m sure you know what that means, don’t you?”
An even thicker grin floated up on Oscal’s face.
This situation only made things more advantageous to the Theocratic Empire, not Aslan. The latter party had willingly created the perfect pretext for them!
“This works as perfect justification for an open war. For that, I’m grateful. Thanks to you, I now have another opportunity to fight your people.”
Cold sweat trickled down envoy Haima’s forehead.
For some reason, his opponent seemed to be enjoying this situation. But why was that? Why was this old man so relaxed like this? Was he simply bluffing?
Haima hurriedly retorted back, “…Ahaha, what nonsense are you spewing now? Your side murdered our nobles first.”
“Do you have any proof that we did so? More importantly, when you look at the current situation, is it not easier to assume that it was your own people who committed such an act? Trying to start a war by sacrificing your own nobles will surely make things difficult for Aslan’s government, wouldn’t you say? Maybe you wish for an internal conflict to flare up first?”
“You don’t have to worry about that. That’s an act the Black Order has committed, after all. Once this event is over, the Order will cease to exist, anyway. Besides, there will be no survivors. No one will leave this place alive. We will simply dispose of the recorded footage and that will be the end of it all.”
“Huh! You speak as if you are confident of killing me.”
-That’s not going to be a problem.
Oscal turned his head.
The Lich, Nasus, was raising up its staff.
A strange, creepy grin was spreading on its lips.
-It may be impossible here, but the story will be different in another location.
The Lich powerfully stabbed the staff down on the ground.
The entirety of the banquet hall powerfully shook around. A massive magic circle suddenly manifested on the ground as rune letters began inscribing within it.