Passing of the Emperor
Editor: MythosIX, Darkdhaos, Rockgollem, Teddy Miao, Ice Phantom
Imperial Year 851, 6th June, Morning—
The vanguard of the High Britannia army approached Fort Bonaire.
Latreille watched over the entire battlefield from the watch tower.
But he couldn’t grasp the situation of the entire battle.
Even though he was gradually recovering and could live his life normally now, he had visited the watchtower countless times.
In order to not let his staff officers and soldiers notice about his deteriorating eyesight, he had put in a lot of effort.
Germain analyzed what he could discern from the given information and said:
“Ah, Your Highness, the enemy pushed out about 30 cannons. Their damage would be trivial if fired from such a distance, are they starting to panic?”
“Shield bearing soldiers blocked the front, with riflemen behind them… There are about 2,000 of men in this formation… This was the same tactic they used to defeat the Seventh Army. It would be hard to break through if we assault from the front.”
Latreille made a show of having considered this fact and nodded. In actual fact, he was visualizing the actual scene from these words.
Germain explained the situation as he added in his conjunctions as a strategist, pretending to be conversing with Latreille in earnest.
When Latreille asked him anything, he wouldn’t answer directly.
“... What do you think about the movement of the enemy main forces?”
“Although the vanguard of the enemy moved, they were supported immediately by the shield and rifle formation. No signs of it being an all out attack… They are hesitant about risking their main forces, how half hearted.”
The commander of the High Britannian forces was Oswald.
A man who uses unorthodox tactics as if they were the norm.
But, he could tell that the enemy lacked battle experience. High Britannia seldom fought wars with other nations, and news of civil war was almost unheard of.
— Despicable venomous snake, it’s the Empire’s turn to strike back.
Latreille made his decision.
“Deploy the 20,000 men outside the fort on the right wing. Then open the southern fort gate. Make them think we are going to attack. But that is a feint, so stay out of the range of their rifles. The cavalry would be the main forces and exit by the north gate behind us. They are to charge the left wing of the enemy’s vanguard. Their defences would be weak if they need to deal with enemies from three sides.”
Even then, they will still suffer some losses—
But if they don’t act, the walls of the fort might fall under lethal bombardment.
Bonaire didn’t have many cannons.
If they engage in a shootout, there was a high chance the enemy would crush them.
Even if they could take out the thirty cannons, it would be difficult to fight a defensive siege battle if the walls were broken.
It wasn’t a bad idea to trade the cavalry for the enemy’s thirty cannons.
Latreille looked again.
But he still couldn’t see it.
He was hoping for a messenger from the west.
If the Fourth Army led by Argentina defeated the enemy’s supply unit—
“They are still not here.”
Realizing the meaning behind Latreille’s gaze, Germain said with a sigh:
“If they can cut off the supplies… If only there were some other ways to fight…”
“It is common to focus on defending. It will keep the morale up. The enemy might withdraw if we keep this up.”
“They wouldn’t be that retarded and only retreat after exhausting their ammunition.”
“They might pretend to run out of supply and retreat.”
“Impossible. If the troops in their units didn’t know the truth, there would be deserters. With an army of 20,000, information would leak easily.”
Latreille closed his eyes for a moment.
Germain said softly:
“... But, can they win?”
“I heard they won the naval battle.”
A messenger already reported about the defeat of the ‘Queen’s Navy’.
But the main problem is that the supply unit led by the Mercenary King had already set off from Chaineboule city.
— The battle between the Fourth Imperial Army and the Mercenary King should have ended by now.
But it would take two days for a swift horse to travel from Lafressange to Fort Bonaire.
Germain sighed softly.
“If the Fourth Army loses to the Mercenary King…”
“Then we have to take the initiative. If we insist on staying put, our chances of winning would be abysmal if the Mercenary King’s supply unit links up with the High Britannia Army. We will need to defeat the 20,000 men commanded by Oswald, then crush the Mercenary King’s supply unit.”
“Is there really no other way?”
Latreille sighed in his heart.
He could imagine how difficult it was just by thinking about it.
If he had one more month, he would be able to gather forces from the entire Empire. He would be able to field a huge army then. He just needs to leave behind enough forces to hold the line for the other fronts. But it was very likely the other cities would have fallen to the other nations…
— Can the Princess really defeat the Mercenary King?
This was the question the soldiers of the First Imperial Army were most concerned about.
Most of the troops would probably think ‘it’s too difficult’.
Starting from this thought, other doubts would spring forth.
— If that happens and the High Britannian supply units arrives, what plans does Prince Latreille have?
The First Imperial Army had never lost, even if they suffered an ambush, it wasn’t really a failure.
They could win this time too.
Contrary to this optimistic thinking— The heavy casualties suffered by the White Wolves Knights, and the consecutive defeat of the Second and Seventh Army gave rise to the pessimistic thinking that their chances of winning aren’t really good.
The neighing of the horses interrupted Latreille’s thoughts.
Germain pointed with his finger.
“The White Hare Knights are charging from the right wing!”
The First Imperial Army has three Knights Corps, with the White Hares known for their speed.
“The cavalry from the Seventh Army has launched an attack from the front!”
The knights commanded by 2nd Grade Combat Officer Coignieres numbered less than fifty. The Seventh Army had a small cavalry even before they suffered catastrophic losses.
But it would be the enemy to grasp the actual numbers from their position at the bottom of the valley.
Riflemen stood behind the cavalry.
They couldn’t ignore this.
According to the tactics—
The enemy's vanguard shield and rifle soldiers started splitting to the left and right.
With the thunderous sound of horse hooves, the White Hare Knights on the right wing advanced. They kept their distance and fired shots to intimidate the enemy.
The Seventh army braced their lances, acting as if they were going to launch a cavalry charge.
A moment later, another cavalry unit charged out from the left wing.
It was the Sun Knights of the Third Army, led by Lieutenant General Buxlow.
As swift as the wind, they charged into the vanguard of the enemy. Gunshots sounded out in retaliation of the attack.
They remained steadfast even though the riders fell one after another.
As expandable as an arrow that was fired.
The soldiers around Latreille started cheering.
“Even though they have just 2,000 men, many riders of the third army were shot down in no time… As expected, charging at the enemy formation with cavalry would result in tremendous losses.”
Right now, Latreille only has 4,000 cavalries under him.
In the past, this was a number that could easily overrun the enemy, no matter how large the enemy forces were.
But now, they will lose most of their cavalry if they launch a frontal assault… If that happens, they would be hard press to field an adequate number of cavalry to secure the Empire’s defences.
It wasn’t a simple matter of winning at any cost.
“No matter what, the plan still worked, Your Highness.”
“This is just a small victory.”
“Yes. But for our army that is covered by the shroud of pessimism, this victory will greatly encourage our officers and men.
As if they were proving the words uttered by Germain, the soldiers around them cheered.
He saw from his blurry vision that the formation of the enemy vanguard was crumbling.
Latreille rubbed his eyes.
“Ah, the enemy is retreating… Or rather, they are running away! This is undoubtedly the victory of General Buxlow’s Sun Knights! The enemy started fleeing disorderly when they realized they couldn’t win!”
“Do not pursue. Be on guard of long distance artillery attacks.”
Flags were waved to issue the order.
Although the knights were tempted to earn merits, they were worried about some things too—
Buxlow stopped the Sun Knights from attacking, to avoid getting too near to the main base of the enemy.
At the same time, units were assigned to carry the cannons and ammunition left behind by the enemy.
The soldiers cheered again.
Germain said excitedly:
“Your Highness! Seems like General Buxlow captured the enemy cannons! If we place the cannons on top of our fort, the enemy won’t be able to come near us!”
“Hmmm? What is the matter?”
“Nothing… They couldn’t handle the assault of the cavalry because their forces were dispersed… And they ran away without even firing the cannons… This can’t be helped.”
But in Latreille’s mind, the enemy commander Oswald was a man like a venomous snake.
If the opponent was such a cunning man, there must be some kind of trap.
Germain tilted his head.
“Maybe they hid an explosive trap inside?”
“... Is that really so?”
“Let’s pull those cannons back into the fort, we will investigate it thoroughly then.”
No matter what, the explosives weren’t dangerous without any fire.
The Imperial Army handles cannons on a regular basis too, so they wouldn’t fall for such simple traps.
While they were retreating, the enemy main base continued firing, which increased the casualties of the allied forces transporting the cannons…
But this should be the greatest victory.
In order to receive the new model cannons from the High Britannians— 41 Elswick cannons, a lot of soldiers gathered at the main gate.
The welcome was thunderous.
They showered Lieutenant General Buxlow and the Sun Knights with compliments.
At this moment, the White Hare Knights and the Seventh Cavalry had already withdrawn.
If the captured cannons could be put to good use, the war will turn in their favour.
The soldiers were transporting the cannons and the gunpowder through the main gate.
When suddenly— Horns to signal a charge sounded out.
It came from the High Britannian base camp.
Just what did that mean?
It wasn’t a charge, the enemy formation didn’t change. No movement in the enemy base too, but the horn kept sounding.
Germain tilted his head.
“N-Nothing is happening. Just what in the world is that horn—”
His vision was suddenly covered by light.
Sound of explosion!
The soldiers standing in the vicinity were thrown off their feet by the sudden impact.
Germain also fell onto the ground.
Latreille held onto to the wall and didn’t fall, but the bright flash hurt his eyes a lot. He pressed on his eyes hard and massaged them.
His ears felt strange too.
He couldn’t hear anything for the moment.
What in the world happened...
“— Your Highness!
“... Germain? Are you okay?”
“Y-Yes! I am alright! I felt a violent bump to my waist, and my eyes and ears hurt.”
Those near the windows were hurt more badly.
A lot of people were moaning too.
Latreille gradually recovered his hearing. If he went deaf now, everything would be over.
“What the hell happened?”
Latreille asked. Germain propped himself up to the windows of the tower and looked out.
“Eh!? Prince Latreille— T-The main gate… is destroyed!”
“What did you say? I don’t get you, Germain.”
“It looked like it had been hit by multiple shells… The main gate has been reduced to rubbles! The gathered soldiers… and the Sun Knights are gone! There’s thick smoke over there, I can’t see anyone who is alive!”
Latreille was on the verge of despair.
But he collected himself and analyzed.
“... So… It was a trap after all.”
“I don’t know the details… But that horn was the key to the gunpowder we captured exploding.”
“This might sound terrible… But there might be someone hiding inside the barrels of gunpowder.”
“What! To actually do such a thing…”
— The one who lit the fire would be blown into bits.
When he thought about this, he couldn’t say anything more.
Even the Imperials understood the need to complete missions even at the expense of their own lives.
Maybe it was loyalty.
Or love for their family.
Or religious faith.
The reasons differed, but the mission was more important than their own lives sometimes.
Latreille gritted his teeth.
“They played us like a fiddle… Allowing us to capture their cannons and gunpowder so easily, and exploding the gunpowder with the horn as a signal.”
“This is an extraordinary scheme.”
There were commanders who ordered their soldiers to breakthrough an encirclement even if it kills them, there were also commanders who executed the subordinates who failed. There were even those who ordered shooting indiscriminately into a chaotic battle without regards to friend or foe.
But a commander who ordered a mission where the subordinate has to die to complete his duty was a first for Latreille.
He closed his eyes.
Wrath, regret, fear…
After suppressing these emotions, he thought and analyzed the situation calmly.
If he was shaken too, the army would definitely be defeated.
Latreille opened his eyes and looked towards the enemy.
The smoke has cleared.
Hordes of enemy soldiers gathered at the bottom of the hill, and were advancing slowly.
“A charge… Not really. Were they confident of victory? No, they should be wary of us. They don’t know how heavy our losses are yet.”
Latreille turned his back on the window.
“... I might be second rate as a strategist… But I don’t want to lose to anyone as a knight! Anyone who can still stand, pick up your pikes! Those who can still move, continue to fight! We will show them the pride of the Belgarian Army!”
“Taking the field! His Highness Latreille is taking the field!”
The soldiers whose faces had turned green stood up with pikes in their hands.
“Ohh, His Highness!”
“Now is the time to show our valor!”
“Let the High Britannians see our might!”
News that Latreille was taking the field spread within the fort.
The soldiers who made their resolve with death picked up their weapons, mounted their warhorses and mustered.
Only 13,000 troops gathered before the rubbles of the main gate.
They lost nearly 7,000 men during the engagement with the enemy vanguard, and the explosion earlier.
The enemy only lost 30 cannons in exchange for the 7,000 men and the destruction of the main gate.
Latreille once again realized he was not suited for strategizing.
In the battle of wits and lies, his adversary was much better than him.
With the main gate lost, they couldn’t defend the fort any more.
Latreille drew his sword, mounted his horse and looked over his troops.
Everyone had the conviction to fight this battle with their backs to the wall.
Because they knew that this battle would decide the survival of the Empire.
There were still 20,000 soldiers outside the fort.
An army of 30,000.
There was no telling if it was enough to achieve victory in a head on battle…
Latreille raised his sword high. This was the sword of the ‘L’Empereur Flamme’, made from tristei, ‘Arme Victoire Volonte’. The straight blade with a silver shine was filled with the belief that their forces would emerge victorious.
“All units of the Belgarian Army! Follow me to battle!”
He charged on his horse.
In no time, he leapt onto the mountain of rubbles, and charged towards the enemy.
Germain followed right behind.
Coignieres from the Seventh Army and the other staff officers rushed bravely to the front.
All the soldiers put their best foot forward.
With the commanders leading the way, who would dare to tally?
Latreille was thankful to their courage and loyalty from the bottom of his heart.
He prepared to charge down from the rubble, and make a dangerous assault.
At this moment—
The High Britannians Army withdrew.
“The enemy is retreating!”
When he heard what Germain said, Latreille pulled on his reigns.
“Prince Latreille, it’s a messenger! He is holding the war banner of the Fourth Army!”
Coignieres pointed with a shout, and the troops started turning rowdy.
The messenger must bear news on how the battle between the Fourth Army and the supply unit turned out.
The High Britannians must have received the same news, and retreated from Fort Bonaire.
The soldiers who already had the resolve to fight to the death waited anxiously for news from the messenger.
It was delivered in no time— But on the way here, the warhorse he was riding on collapsed onto the ground with foam spewing from its mouth.
The messenger ran before Latreille and handed him an envelope sealed with wax.
Germain took the letter first. He undid the seal, opened the envelope— and confirmed the content.
He then closed one eye and gave the letter to Latreille. This was a code they decided earlier.
Latreille didn’t read the letter.
He will need to hold the letter really close to his face to read it… But he couldn’t let the troops realize that his eyesight was deteriorated.
So he pretended to read it.
He actually knew the content from the code earlier.
Latreille turned to his army and announced:
“Listen up! The Fourth Army have defeated the enemy supply unit!”
After shouting that, he shoved the letter back to Germain, as if he was saying that the rest was his job.
— In reality, it’s because he couldn’t see the content of the letter clearly.
Germain took the letter and started reading it out loud.
“The Fourth Imperial Army have defeated the High Britannian supply unit! And successfully captured their supplies. We have also taken in the Mercenary King Gilbert and his mercenaries as prisoners! We believe there won’t be further enemy reinforcement! The 14,000 men of the Fourth Army will march for the capital on the noon of the 9th. The First Imperial Army doesn’t need to rush and achieve merits, just concentrate on base defence! Message end! It’s our victory, Prince Latreille!!”
The last part was screamed out loud, as if he was tearing his lungs out.
Latreille looked up into the sky.
And thrust his sword up.
Tears ran freely.
“Ohh, god… Long live the Belgarian Empire!!”
The cheers of the soldiers rang out.
Raising their pikes, waving their swords and knocking on their shields.
Soldiers clasping hands and hugging together cried tears of joy.
Latreille dismounted and sheathed his sword.
Then clasped Germain’s hand tightly.
The same day, noon—
Latreille and Germain returned to the palace of Lu Valanu.
They had yet to clean away the dust of the battle field, dressed as they were during times of war.
The nobles frowned after seeing their disheveled state, and the maids shrieked softly too. But now wasn’t the time to mind their appearance.
As they walked, Germain read out the intel gathered by the staff officers.
“— And made the above proposition.”
“Hmm, since His Majesty already approved of this, gather the ministers to adjust the budget.”
“Although we defeated the High Britannians, we also suffered heavy damage. If we don’t rebuild the frontlines soon, we will lose territory just like Emperor Vicente.”
The previous Emperor Vicente focused heavily on the arts, and made great contributions to cultural development. His ministers were chosen based on how elegant the poems they composed were, and generals would be dismissed if they couldn’t understand the intrinsics of music. This resulted in the breakdown of the battlefront.
Belgaria lost a lot of territory, and the enemy were even threatening the capital.
The young Vicente died of illness.
There were all sorts of rumours behind his death. Some say he was assassinated by the military, but there was no way to discern the truth. But if he remained in power for just five more years, the Empire would probably fall.
In the aftermath, the current Emperor Liam took the throne.
He was very young then, General Corneille was appointed as Field Marshal and began constructing the battlefront, and gradually recovered their lost territory.
And Corneille died on the battlefield…
The Empire then sanctified Vicente as an artist, and praised the soldier Corneille as the Field Marshal who saved the Empire.
Latreille respected both parties, and used them as negative examples to warn himself. Focusing too much on culture would lead to the destruction of the Empire, paying too little heed to civilization would make the citizens no different from wild beast.
He walked into the depths of the palace corridors.
Crazed music and uncultured laughter came from one of the rooms.
Reports from the frontlines had yet to reach the palace, so it couldn’t be a victory celebration.
Germain furrowed his brows.
“Security is too lax, they wouldn’t even know if the High Britannians were walking in this corridor.”
“If this is a display of absolute confidence in the First Army, that isn’t a bad thing.”
“Even so, they shouldn’t be partying here while the soldiers risk their lives out in the field.”
He lowered his voice, but couldn’t conceal his anger.
Latreille was thinking the same thing.
“... This needs to change, Germain. With our hands… In the near future, these bunch of sinecures will no longer have a place here. Only the meritorious will be qualified to be here.”
“It is about time… To resolve this.”
“Is this about… the succession of the crown?”
“The figure of His Majesty was nowhere to be found during this war, even after the First Army was deployed. The Belgarian Empire won’t have a future if we don’t fight on. If one doesn’t have the will to do so, it is only right to abdicate.”
After reporting the news of victory, he will enquire about that… Latreille made up his mind.
If they keep staying so listless, the situation of the Empire would worsen if he doesn’t force the Emperor to abdicate.
If High Britannia worked in concert with the other nations, mass produced the new rifles and attacked with three or four times their numbers, Belgaria won’t be able to prevail next time.
There was news that they had already formed an alliance with part of the Germanian Federation.
The crisis has reached a stage where the effort of the entire Empire would be needed to resolve this.
Latreille continued into the depths of the corridor, and met the imperial guard commander.
He probably didn’t come out to welcome Latreille.
Did something happen?— Latreille thought and stopped.
The elderly imperial guard commander lowered his head respectfully.
“Isn’t this Prince Latreille!? I heard of your brilliance on the battlefield, congratulations.”
Because of the size of Belgaria, they had to fight long wars with enemy states. But the Empire had always been winning these skirmish.
Not just that…
It wasn’t clear when it started, but it was now the norm to ‘congratulate’ whoever returned from the battlefield.
He lost a lot of his troops and his fort was nearly destroyed, there was nothing worth ‘congratulating’!
Suppressing the wrath in his heart, Latreille saluted.
“Thank you for your kindness. May I visit the chambers of His Majesty?”
“My apologies, but His Majesty is sleeping right now.”
The Belgarian Empire didn’t have the custom of sleeping in the day.
“Is the Emperor not feeling well?”
“Thank you for your concern. The Emperor just needed some rest. Please come by later, My Prince… His Majesty just started his nap.”
“You want me to come by later because he couldn’t get up from bed?”
“It is unforgivable even for his own son to disrupt the rest of His Majesty.”
“I need to report the situation of the war, and discuss future plans with the Emperor.”
“That is very important. Wouldn’t it be better to do so after His Majesty wakes?”
The guard commander was stubborn.
No matter what, he refused to give in.
Latreille closed his eyes and muttered softly:
“... I can accept if it is in the middle of the night, but it’s daytime… For the ruler who has the fate of the Empire on his shoulders, he doesn’t even want to listen to updates about the war and discuss countermeasures when crisis is upon us?”
“Entry into His Majesty’s chambers is absolutely prohibited.”
— If you want to sleep that much, you can sleep all you want after leading the soldiers personally on the field and achieving victory!
While that white haired old man is sleeping in broad daylight, the Germanian Federation might be making new rifles while the High Britannians build new warships.
While they were at an impasse, five maids came from behind.
They held bottles and fruits.
And also napkins and flasks.
Latreille’s heavy voice surprised the maids.
“... What are these?”
“Eh? T-That… Chapoire Rouge, Year 772.”
He heard this name before.
It was wine.
Latreille’s voice sounded like that of a wild beast.
“... Why is someone who is feeling unwell sleeping and drinking wine?”
He couldn’t take it anymore.
And entered, ignoring the guard commander.
Awed by Latreille’s aura, the other party backed away.
Germain followed closely behind, with the heavy infantry guarding their backs closely.
After opening a large door, the colour of the carpet changed. It wasn’t purely red in colour, but a myriad of deep and light shades of red.
Aside from guards and maids, only the Emperor and Royalty may enter this place.
Latreille said to Germain who stopped.
“It’s fine, follow me.”
Lowering his head in a panic, Germain lifted his trembling legs and stepped onto the dark red carpet.
Latreille’s vision had recovered significantly.
Even so, he still couldn’t read documents. The content of letters would need to be summarized to him before he can read on.
Latreille ordered the heavy infantry to guard this place and not allow anyone in.
They saluted without a word.
The decorations along the corridor were extravagant, that’s how pieces of art were.
But the scent of wine and perfume triggered Latreille’s fury.
Suppressing his revolting urge, he headed for the depths of the palace.
The doors to the chambers were open.
Smell of wine and perfume lingered in the air. Or rather, their pungence stunk up the place.
“Your Majesty, it’s me.”
Even Latreille thought his voice sounded dispirited.
Before hearing the response of the Emperor, a scream sounded out.
“... What is the matter, Latreille?”
A hoarse voice.
He didn’t answer directly and entered the chambers.
In a situation like this, Germain could only stand outside in the corridor. He could hear the conversation inside, so he just needed to go in when the situation calls for it.
This wasn’t the first time Latreille visited the chambers of the Emperor.
When his father was confined to bed because of illness, he visited several times before.
The light near the window and the walls flickered quietly.
In the middle of the room was a large bed as huge as a gigantic carriage, with lace curtains draped over it.
On the table besides the bed were empty wine bottles lying on its side. Remnants of fruits were scattered over the floor.
Three individuals could be seen between the silky sheets.
The first was the sixth Concubine the Emperor recently married, Johaprecia Octovia.
She was just fifteen, but glimpses of her alluring body could be seen through the sheets.
There was one other person Latreille didn’t know.
The gender of the youth wasn’t clear, just like a child. The youth had a girly face and long hair, but the chest that wasn’t covered by the sheets was as flat as a boy. The skin was as smooth and beautiful as a carving.
It might be beautiful, but being in such a place was an ugly sight.
Between the two of them was the naked Emperor. His lower body was covered by the sheets.
His wrinkled skin looked scaly like a snake.
His muscles had diminished, leaving behind limbs with visible veins.
And his belly was bloated.
Turning his unfocused eyes towards Latreille, the mouth smeared with the lipstick of the Concubine opened.
“Since you have returned, that means we won the war correct?”
Latreille held back the urge to throw up and answered.
The Emperor said in a hoarse voice.
“Then there is no problem. I will leave the military to you like always.”
“...Is that all?”
“If you want a reward, just take anything you like from the treasury.”
“... It’s not about me… The Empire is facing a major crisis now. We fended off the invasion, but if we don’t want to suffer the humiliation because of the technological advances of the other nations, we have to come up with a countermeasure soon. Our coffers are running low, and wouldn’t be able to finance such a heavy expenditure.”
“Then just use what is necessary.”
At this moment, Johaprecia interrupted.
“Liam? Your decision is correct, but the palace in the south will still be built right?”
“Oh, I did promise that.”
“That’s right! We are looking forward to it!”
Latreille tilted his head.
“During winter… This place is really cold.”
“Yes! Estaburg wouldn’t be that cold. If we go somewhere warmer, it will be good for Liam’s back pains too. I am really considerate for my husband, right!?”
The Emperor nodded and Johaprecia smiled. The young person of ambiguous gender smiled along with her.
Latreille felt his vision darken.
Were his eyes deteriorating again?
Or did the candle lights on the wall grew weaker?
“... Your Majesty… Building a palace in the south is… good. I am worried about your health. The south is a warm place, it would be great for you to rest there.”
“Yes, it’s settled then.”
“... Please leave the burden of being Emperor to me.”
Latreille blurted out like a child who just learned to speak.
His heart pounded.
Sweat soaked his back.
Will he incur the wrath of the Emperor if he asked for the throne so directly?
Despite his bountiful experience on the battlefield all this while, Latreille was shivering right now.
But the one who reacted was Johaprecia.
Latreille was shocked and looked at her with eyes wide open.
Johaprecia hugged the Emperor’s neck lovingly, pressing her bountiful breasts onto him.
“That won’t do. Liam has to be the Emperor.”
— What is this woman saying?
In Belgarian culture, women were not permitted to be a part of national matters.
Johaprecia looked at her stomach.
And laughed heartily.
“A new life will be born very soon. Liam is very energetic, I will bear the new child and he will be a true successor with vermillion hair and crimson eyes.”
The Emperor squinted his eyes, placing his wrinkled hand onto her belly.
“I’m counting on you.”
“Leave it to me! I am still young and beautiful. Look at how smooth my skin is! I can bear two or even three more children~~”
She pulled off the silky sheets as she said that.
Sweat glistened on her blushing skin.
Her white and tender skin emitted fatale allure. The sweat on her skin wetted the sheets, and even her breath was filled with lust.
Latreille lowered his head and squeezed out his words.
“... B-But… A newborn would be 15 years away from adulthood…”
Johaprecia got down from the bed.
Swaying her slender body, she approached Latreille.
Her pristine finger poked Latreille’s cheek.
With a sweet sigh, Johaprecia whispered:
“Fufu… Only my child can be the Emperor. Prince Latreille just needs to keep fighting on and on, and protect our nation.”
Latreille was speechless.
He could only feel the sound of the wind.
That was the panting sound from Latreille’s throat.
This vile wench, she leeched off the Emperor, feasted on the coffers and now wants to swallow the entire Empire whole!?
A princess from a small eastern nation, not much different from a hostage…
But to think the palace summoned a terrible monster over.
The aging Emperor had fallen completely to this young witch and lost himself.
He even bedded someone with an ambiguous gender.
While the troops were fighting wars, these bunch were drinking in daylight and feasting on extravagant fruits, splurging the Empire away as if it was theirs to spend.
Latreille had an epiphany.
“... So the real enemy threatening the Empire… Is inside the palace.”
Hufufufu, Johaprecia laugh mockingly.
“Ara ara, how scary, where is the enemy~?”
This woman knew how to use her youth and feminine wiles to charm those in authority.
But how would a caged bird ever know the soul of the ferocious beast?
Latreille’s right hand reached out.
Without a sound.
In that hand was the sword, ‘Arme Victoire Volonte’—
Not even giving the witch the chance to scream, Latreille covered her bloodied mouth as his sharp blade pierced her heart.
Johaprecia rolled her eyes up, and kept spasming in Latrielle’s arms until she finally stopped moving.
Slowly— she turned limp.
Latreille drew out his sword, and flung her to the ground like a doll.
A colour bloodier and a deeper shade of red than the carpet splattered all over.
The face of the Emperor turned pale.
“Wo, Wo, Woooo…”
He made strange noises as his tears flowed.
The youth who was showing a fake smile on the bed was moments from screaming
A dagger flew from behind Latreille.
With a thud, it buried itself deep in the youth’s throat. The youth of ambiguous gender would never utter a sound again.
The one who threw the dagger was Germain.
He flicked back his silvery hair that seemed dishevelled because of a huge failure, and looked at Latreille.
“Is this fine!?”
“What crime is there in killing a monster that is building its nest in the Empire?”
The Emperor got down from the bed and held Johaprecia’s corpse.
This wasn’t within Latreille’s expectation.
“... So father can fall in love just like a normal person.”
“The bloodline of L’Empereur Flamme… The boy who is going to succeed the throne is about to be born…”
Until the very end, this man was bound by the curse of crimson hair and eyes, a pitiful fellow who couldn’t see beyond that. He didn’t amount to anything, and wouldn’t shower anyone with love.
He merely had the blood of the founding emperor in his veins.
“Even if this evil wench gives birth to a boy with red hair and eyes… He would just be a bastard of a monster, and won’t be a hero that will lead the Empire to prosperity!”
The Emperor looked up with bloodshot eyes.
This was probably the first time he conversed so honestly with his father.
He said while trembling:
“Why are you born with blonde hair?”
“... True… I was once consumed by hatred over this, cursed my mother, and even thought of burning all my hair off… But now, I am thankful. If I was born with red hair, I probably would be trapped in this curse, just like you, father. Because I am the second son, and didn’t have red hair, I worked hard, expanded my horizons and built up my confidence.”
“Father, your mindset that only those with red hair and eyes are worthy makes you a shallow and pitiful man. Let me liberate you from this.”
“... You… Just like how Corneille killed my uncle, will you kill me too?”
As expected, the previous Emperor Vicente was assassinated by Corneille. And this man seemed to be aware of the truth.
Liam said pitifully:
“... Latreille… Do you know? Corneille killed the previous Emperor from behind.”
“I will remember that, Father.”
Latreille used his sword… and pierced through the heart of the Emperor.
He relaxed his shoulders.
He only killed two people, but he couldn’t breathe.
Germain asked uneasily:
“A-Are you okay, Your Highness?”
“... Phew… With the Emperor gone… I am like an eagle that broke free of my chains, and can fly freely in the sky… But right now, my body feels as heavy as lead.”
“Those who kill their father with their own hands will become no different from monsters if they can’t take the burden on their conscience.”
“... That’s, true.”
“But for the future of the Empire… Prince Latreille, please brave on no matter what sins you have to shoulder. I will do what I can to assist you.”
“Germain… My deepest thanks.”
Their eyes met.
And they smiled.
“Call in the men to cover up the scene. We need the palace physician to make a false report. In the end, it is great that there are no injuries on the face of the Emperor.”
“You managed to keep your calm about this.”
No, judging from the blood stained room, I’m not calm at all— Latreille mocked himself.
Germain smiled confidently.
“Please be at ease. I thought this might happen, and already bribed the maids. The stained beddings, carpets, and drapes could be disposed of and replaced in no time.”
“Well, I am following the example of that strategist… this is one of several measures that I prepared.”
“Fufu… I see.”
“The guard commander would probably suspect that the Emperor was assassinated. What should we do?”
“That person is someone who turns with the wind. He will stand on our side if you offer him good terms. If he proves to be trouble, kill him.”
“Yes, the guards that don’t take bribes would be assigned to other places. We will disguise it as an accident and…”
“I will leave it to you.”
Germain lowered his head respectfully, then looked towards Latreille.
“Your Highness, this is the beginning.”
“Ahh… Now is just the beginning.”
To the creation of a new Empire.
He held his sword up and wiped away the bloodstain.
If he only cares about those who have passed on, he wouldn’t be able to pave a path to the future.
Imperial Year 851, 6th June.
It was a bright and sunny day in the morning, but dark clouds loomed suddenly and heavy rain fell.
Shocking news stunned the entire capital.
The Emperor had died.
Wiping away the joy of beating back the High Britannian Army, this news hung heavily.
And the sixth Concubine Johaprecia Octovia committed suicide to be with her husband.
The capital was covered in the solemn atmosphere of mourning the many dead soldiers, the passing of the Emperor and the death of the Concubine.
The next day, 7th June, amidst the torrent of chaos—
The Second Prince Allen Deux Latreille announced his succession as the new Emperor.
Volume 7 End