Machine Translated By:
- Cirdan Lunae
Japanese to English Checking By:
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This an edited Machine Translation, which has been checked by at least one Japanese-English Human Translator for quality using feedback from the machine translators and proofreaders. This may have a quality dip in accuracy, therefore, if you read this chapter you must take into consideration the tradeoffs between speed and quality.
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Pressing his fists to the ground, he stood up by overexerting his shaking knees.
The force of the heavy blows had reverberated to his very core, his internal organs, which seemed like they had been scrambled, bellowed.
Lacerations and bruises could be reliably healed by simply sucking up the power of the earth via the soles of his feet. However, the techniques used by his opponent, their nature unknown, would overcome any crude protection of the sort.
His attitude abhorrent, his character loathsome, his enemy was one of the strongest in the Empire.
His techniques, perfected through training that transcended human understanding, toyed with the foolhardy Garfiel around without relent.
However, lack of experience or age was no reason for him to cower.
Garfiel, who was incapable of anything dexterous, required victory, simple as that. Any other answer could not be chosen, and above all――,
Garfiel: [As if my amazin’ self could just keep on cowerin’ right next to ya.]
Gritting his teeth, Garfiel looked up and let out a guttural groan from his throat.
His gaze remained fixed directly towards his front, though his attention was set not on the one that was, without doubt, his enemy, but on the man standing beside him, his personal enemy.
???: [Oh dear. Your unrelenting spirit is a virtue, but isn’t it more reasonable in this situation to direct it at the old man over there, rather than at me?]
Garfiel: [That’s just “Kagricon puttin’ things aside”. You’re the one blabbin’ nonsense. Ya did it long before he did.]
???: [That was about a year and a half ago now… Excluding the things you’re already aware of, I do think that it’s not that unforgivable.]
Shrugging his thin shoulders, the man―― Roswaal responded curtly.
Without his makeup and clown costume in order to conceal his true identity, he retained the aura of a proper nobleman.
It was a masterful disguise that did not let show just how twisted he was at his core.
Without the advice of the detestable Roswaal, Garfiel’s life would have been in peril, that much was true.
And because Garfiel was aware of this, a feverish anger rose from the pit of his stomach.
On the other hand――,
???: [――I’m a tad confused ’bout ya sayin’ you’ve been in a fight with shinobi before.]
The one to mutter so was an old man of diminutive stature, a man who could easily have been mistaken for a dwarf.
Waving the sleeve of his right arm that was missing below the wrist, he donned an expression that made him look like a good-natured old man, yet it was completely unfathomable how terrifying this old man actually was.
Garfiel was painfully aware that it was also part of the shinobi’s techniques.
Everything about him, his gestures, words, actions, even his feeble appearance, were all tools to bring nothing but death to his opponents―― Shinobi utilized their entire being as a deadly weapon to finish off their targets.
The shinobi head honcho, the monstruous old man was staring at Garfiel and the other man―― or rather, he was staring just at Roswaal. He was not accusing him for rudely intruding into a one-on-one fight, but he was concerned about something else.
――Concerned that he had fought a shinobi before, and the boastfulness of that statement of his.
???: [The basic rule of fightin’ a shinobi’s ta lose yer life. In the case the shinobi’s killed durin’ their attempt, the village’s notified, and the next one’s dispatched, and this happens ’til the other person croaks. So, how’re ya still alive?]
Roswaal: [It’s a little complicated in that regard. Apparently, the shinobi I encountered also had their own circumstances. I don’t know if that’s the right word, but they were runaways.]
???: [Runaway shinobi…]
Stroking his long white eyebrows with his fingers, Olbart whispered.
Even Garfiel had not comprehended the words Roswaal had uttered. The existence of shinobi was merely a slightly credible rumor to begin with, but even then, their actual existence was dubious.
Naturally, no one knew the true situation. He had never even heard of the term “runaway shinobi” before.
Olbart: [Shinobi who’ve escaped from the village, that couldn’t have happened in quite a while now?]
However, instead of denying those words unfamiliar to Garfiel’s ears, Olbart was nothing but frank about their content.
It sounded as if he was aware of the situation concerning the village, those shinobi, as well as everything else; the statement probably was true. He grasped what was in his hands, not out of obligation, but as a way of life.
That was the secret for success in life, of the shinobi named Olbart Dunkelkenn――.
Roswaal: [I don’t know how long a while is for you, so it may be more or less than a while. At any rate, I met those shinobi almost forty years ago.]
Roswaal answered with a shrug of his shoulders, to which the Vicious Old Man, Olbart, raised a voice of doubt.
A similar doubt emerged within Garfiel. Rather, it was more likely that everything Roswaal had stated thus far had just a casual utterance, hence he admired the nerve of the man.
Although he had never bothered to ask Roswaal’s age, he was at most around thirty-years-old―― he was unlike Emilia or Beatrice. He had not even been born forty years ago.
And with this ridiculous, spurious trickery targeted at Olbart――,
Olbart: [――Shasuke and Raizo, right? Those are the runaway shinobi you’re talkin’ ’bout.]
Olbart: [They left the village forty or fifty years ago, and the only ones who’re still alive are their brothers. The others’ve been killed off, so there ain’t any other candidates.]
Garfiel dismissed that affair as a joke, yet Olbart played along even more tenaciously. Next to Garfiel staring in bewilderment, Roswaal batted one eye shut.
Looking back at Olbart with his eerie yellow eye, he spoke,
Roswaal: [Well, do I really have the obligation to answer whether you’re right or not?]
Olbart: [Nah. It’s also valid ta hold yer opponent in suspense when a fight ta kill’s on a knife’s edge… Ya might have talent as a shinobi.]
Roswaal: [I appreciate the compliment, but I decline. The talent I desire and the path I want to walk have been decided long before forty years ago.]
Olbart: [Kakakakka! I see, I see. ――Well then, it can’t be helped.]
Roswaal, shaking his head, ignored Olbart’s praise.
Olbart laughed without paying heed to that, and immediately afterwards his figure became hazy. In the blink of an eye, the distance between the two vanished. With a leap, the eerie old man’s foot was slammed on his target’s neck.
Feeling a gentle breeze on his neck, Garfiel held his breath.
A deadly shockwave scattered where the nape of his neck had been, barely scraping his skin. Olbart’s kick had been unleashed, only to be stopped just in time.
Roswaal: [After that conversation just now, you aim not for me, but him.]
Olbart: [Diminish yer enemies. Easiest ones first. Pretty textbook, ain’t it?]
With strength and proficiency one would not expect from such a small stature, even Garfiel’s well-trained neck would not be able to take a direct hit from Olbart’s kick and remain unscathed.
What had stopped that reckless clash from becoming a reality was a distinctively shaped dagger cutting between Garfiel’s neck and Olbart’s kicking foot―― Rather than having blades, however, the weapon possessed parts to strike with.
Called a sai, it was an obscure weapon often employed in the western country of Kararagi, and even Garfiel was now seeing it for the first time. 
That, had just saved Garfiel’s life.
The owner of the sai was Roswaal, adding the humiliating fact that he had saved Garfiel for the second consecutive time.
The moment he was set ablaze by this humiliation, Garfiel’s right arm launched up, killing the wind.
Naturally, the target was the old man, who remained suspended in midair with his kicking leg as his pivot. Since he had no way to escape in midair, he would smash through his torso, thus rendering him unable to fight.
Olbart: [Whoa there.]
However, just before that powerful arm struck him, Olbart ducked with an unusually adroit movement of his body, leaping down and to the side, with only his toe hooked in Roswaal’s sai.
Evading the unleashed fist by diving under it, Olbart pulled out of range in a crawling position. Immediately, Garfiel stepped in for a follow-up――
Roswaal: [How about we calm down for a bit?]
As he planned to rush in, his body was pulled backward at the waist, knocking the wind off his sails.
Looking at it, Garfiel came to notice that Roswaal had hooked the tip of his sai onto the clothes at his waist. The former wondered what in the world Roswaal was trying to pull, but he figured out the man’s intent the moment he attempted to snap at him.
Because a rotating black blade grazed Garfiel’s nose as it came flying by.
Roswaal: [The moment you two came apart, he threw a flying blade at your blind spot with his hand behind his back. Putting the spin on it is just a petty trick, but shinobi have a whole treasure trove of that. Not to mention, our opponent’s at the top of their class.]
Olbart: [If ya think somethin’ so pompous as being on top of a small hill, people’ll point ‘n laugh at’cha. Being at the top of the shinobi ain’t somethin’ ta brag ’bout.]
Unconcerned with his attack having missed, Olbart closed one eye and looked at them vigilantly.
Garfiel once again bit his teeth in humiliation at this exchange between the two, of which he had been left out of. Roswaal had saved his life not once, nor twice, but thrice already.
In the fight against Kafma, he had felt on his body that he had overcome one singular wall.
And in spite of that, he was incapable of doing a single thing against these people who were making a mockery of his fight with Kafma. This was a disgrace to Garfiel himself, and to Kafma who had lost to him, but――.
Roswaal: [――Garfiel, do not misjudge his type of strength.]
Roswaal: [You’re strong. So, your opponent tries to avoid meeting you in your domain. Once you see through his wiles, most of the weakness you harbor should disappear.]
Roswaal pulled out another sai as he said this to Garfiel, who was clenching his fists.
With short-strike weapons in both hands, Roswaal was no longer the Head Magician of the Court that Garfiel knew, but rather he was attempting to maintain the appearance of a mere warrior.
There was a moment of confusion, but after a pause Garfiel understood his intention.
Roswaal had to abide by the restriction of not being able to use magic in this situation.
If Roswaal were to use magic, his true identity could be exposed. If that were to happen, this civil war within the Empire could unfold into a war between the Kingdom and the Empire.
Roswaal: [All I can do, is provide cover… You’re the key to this battle against this General First-Class of the Empire, Garfiel.]
Roswaal: [It’s true that we have bad chemistry. You’re straightforward and honest, after all. That being the case, I’ll find a workaround for the deficiency that creates. So, I have…]
Garfiel: [――A nasty personality.]
Roswaal smiled wryly at Garfiel, who had taken from the former’s words and continued them.
Roswaal: [Yes, I have a nasty personality. Quite reliable, isn’t it?]
Garfiel: [Pah! Quit talkin’!]
With this response to the winking Roswaal, Garfiel wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.
He wiped the blood off that was still flowing from the beatings he had been on the receiving end of previously, and exhaled deeply. From the rumbling sky came the feeling of scorching heat and extreme cold, each no less threatening than the other.
Just the thought of those tingling sensations being directed at his comrades was enough to numb his entire body.
Garfiel: [That’s only for now.]
If he did not focus on the enemy in front of himself, there would not be a next time, nor would there be a time after next time.
Olbart: [Now that it’s two-on-one, it’s gettin’ annoyin’.]
Garfiel took a deep breath, and Olbart sighed at the situation. And at the old man’s words, Garfiel frowned with an “Oh?”.
What’s so strange ’bout it? It may be annoyin’ to him, but it’s been two-on-one since Roswaal showed up.
Garfiel: [Ya got just two opponents, so there’s no point in complainin’ ’bout it now bein’ two-on-one.]
In response to the doubt Garfiel harbored, Olbart bent his neck.
The monstruous old man grabbed his long white eyebrows with his index and thumb, and then declared,
Olbart: [It’s only two-on-one if the two are cooperatin’… What was just a couple of cheeky young’uns ’til now’s started bein’ a pain in the rump.]
Garfiel: [Then, how ’bout ya surrender, since you’re at a disadvantage?]
Olbart: [Kakakakka! Both fleein’ from the enemy and abandonin’ the battle are the worst kinda disgrace, worse than dyin’ a dog’s death. In addition, well…]
Garfiel: [In addition?]
Flicking one of the eyebrows he was pinching, Olbart flashed his teeth.
Contrary to his smile, the small old man overflowed with a tremendous amount of fighting spirit, and then,
Olbart: [――Even this bein’ a two-on-one ain’t a reason ta give up, for me.]
Instantly, the old man’s smile faded, his figure evaporating from view once more.
When it came to the Vicious Old Man, left and right were not the only options, the sky and the underground were as well. Garfiel’s nerves were on edge, due to the prospect of those possibilities――,
Roswaal: [――The inseam.]
Prompted by the voice he heard, Garfiel pulled back half a step.
A moment later, his eyes met those of the old man, rising up from under the earth,
A blow with his all was swung downwards, as Olbart jumped up to his knees.
Garfiel’s fists slammed into the old man’s knees, which were like withered branches.
Shockwaves rippled through the ground, causing it to crack, terrific destruction spreading.
With that first direct hit, a battle to the death with the shinobi had begun, in the truest sense.
――The hero arriving late.
Although a cliché of that sort did exist, Subaru was not too fond of it.
Strictly speaking, it was correct to say that he had come to think “Don’t screw with me” in the process of all the many events he had experienced in this other world he had been transported to.
Subaru: [If this were a game, a manga, or within a story, that would’ve perhaps been fine.]
Events in a fictional world needed developments of the sort, to liven things up.
However, for Subaru, who actually did live within this turbulent world, the sooner a hero, a heroic figure, a person with abilities beyond human understanding appeared on the scene to resolve a conflict, the better.
It was best to have the hero show up as quickly as possible, so that he would swiftly solve the root of the problem.
If people were to say something along the lines of the story not being interesting, that was fine, as it was not a story. Discussing whether it was fun or not could only be done when having the presence of mind to do so.
Subaru: [And yet, it’s pathetic that we’re the last to arrive!]
Swaying on the back of a Galewind Horse of bright red coloration, Subaru looked to the front in regret.
This battle all around the Imperial Capital would decide the fate of the Empire. It was hard to say who he ought to complain to, but for now, Subaru seethed with rage at himself for being a slowpoke.
Even though he thought about how much he hated it, he ended up turning out the same as a hero who arrived late.
Subaru: [Isn’t this exactly like those heroes with a tendency for being late, being the ones most eager to achieve the best possible outcome in a fight!?]
The reason why late-arriving heroes put in so much work was surely because the heroes themselves were extremely regretful for being late.
The hero was painfully aware that his friends, the people he had to protect, or someone he did not want to lose, had been through hard and painful times in the meanwhile. That was why.
For the first time, Subaru learned the justification for the heroes’ struggles, which stemmed from not being able to make it to the battlefield in time from the beginning. ――They too, had blamed themselves.
Subaru: [Let’s do this, Beatrice!]
Beatrice: [El Shamak!]
With this understanding, the shadow magic of the little girl clinging onto Subaru’s chest was unleashed―― black clouds appeared out of thin air, one after another, shrouding the heads of the Imperial Soldiers just lined up in a row.
Depriving people of their vision to diminish their fighting strength―― was not the case here. The soldiers with these shrouded heads were not being robbed of their sight, but rather, of their fighting strength itself.
Pleiades Battalion: [OOOHH, RAAAH――!!]
The line of Imperial Soldiers with shrouded heads being frozen in place had been crushed by the first attack of the Pleiades Battalion, which had come rushing in with their outlandish fighting style.
Rendering them powerless in order to take away their weapons and armor, as well as breaking any of their limbs so that they could be left behind, had been the fundamental tactic of the Battalion, reflecting the fighting style and intentions of their boss, Subaru.
It was not like he was hell-bent on not killing anyone.
Still, he had opted for a method that would result in as few human deaths as possible. Doing so was the best for Natsuki Subaru’s peace of mind, and at the same time――,
Subaru: [――I hate the Vollachian Empire.]
It was his revenge; revenge against the Empire that forced people to fight and kill each other, just in order to be a warrior.
???: [Schwartz, we are approaching the city walls. We need to decide whether to continue into the Imperial Capital, or to head to the other bastions to provide support.]
The ground quaking, was due to Gustav Morello going on a rampage, with his extraordinarily gigantic build.
Having been appointed as the Governor of the Gladiator Island, he was the indispensable brain of the Pleiades Battalion, displaying tremendous combat power as he brandished his four thick, strong arms, keeping the approaching Imperial Soldiers at bay.
While Gustav’s powerful upper limbs struck soldiers, sending them flying over his head effortlessly, Subaru saw the walls looming before him―― the walls of the fourth bastion of the star-shaped ramparts that surrounded the city.
Conquering each bastion was the condition for gaining the upper hand in this siege.
Subaru: [What do you think, Gustav-san!? How are we supposed to attack!?]
Gustav: [It is not for I, in my capacity, to decide. I shall just present the possible advantages and disadvantages. ――If we enter the Imperial Capital and reach the Crystal Palace, we can accelerate the conclusion of the battle. If we go to the other bastions to provide support, we can reduce the casualties on both sides with the help of our main force. That is all.]
Subaru: [How troubling! How troubling, but…]
While Gustav was dependable in keeping his cool even in the midst of a fight, Subaru did regard his personality as horrible, since Gustav never helped him make decisions in these situations.
Yet, though he would present Subaru the possibilities, he would never force him to choose.
It was precisely because Gustav abided by that tenet that the Pleiades Battalion had remained united until now, rather than collapsing.
If there was one more reason for Gustav’s attitude, and for the Battalion to be this united――,
Subaru: [Gustav-san! Take the flagbearer Hiain and half of everyone to support the other battles! Weitz! Take the other half and hold this position! I’ll leave it to you!]
As Subaru had been entrusted with making the decisions on the spot, he had to exercise it properly.
Gustav: [――I, as the official, acknowledge those orders.]
Hiain: [I’m on it, bro! We’re all in this boat together!]
Weitz: [Of course we’re in the same boat, lizard…! Since it’s your request, I’m gonna listen…]
Hearing Subaru’s decision, everyone who had been called upon replied, one after the other.
He had made the extravagant decision to take both of the options presented by Gustav. Even so, that would have to be done by dividing the forces to each battlefield, but――,
Subaru: [――If it’s us, then we can do it!]
One could easily see how the enthusiasm of the members of the squadron heightened further at Subaru’s declaration.
And that was precisely why they were comrades with whom he had fought together ever since that hellish island, making their way over here.
Idra: [Schwartz, what should we do!?]
Subaru: [It’s a no-brainer! We’re going to make a grand entry through the wall!]
Idra questioned him, as he held the reins of the Galewind Horse, galloping along with Subaru.
Subaru answered the obvious question cheerfully, as he pointed to the ramparts in front of him. Then, with his eyes fixed on the imposing wall, he opened his mouth and declared,
Subaru: [Destroy it, Tanza! I’m counting on you!]
Tanza: [――Schwartz-sama, you sure are a smooth talker.]
Receiving Subaru’s shout of encouragement, a small shadow agilely jumped out from right beside him.
Lifting the hem of her kimono, and kicking off the ground in a dash as she headed to the ramparts, was Tanza. She had ended up working with Subaru through a strange quirk of fate, and was an indispensable member of the Pleiades Battalion.
To be precise, the reason for that was―― because she was the strongest attacker in the Pleiades Battalion.
Flying like a bullet, Tanza spun in midair, and following that the geta she wore on her feet pierced the ramparts.
One moment later, the robust rampart had been shattered, Tanza’s figure running through it. The shockwave created a crack in the fourth bastion of the city walls, fissures spreading across its entirety.
Then, with Subaru’s order, the Pleiades Battalion crashed right where Tanza had struck the first blow, with its full momentum.
It no longer was an attack by an individual member of the Battalion, but a blow from the individual living entity that was the Pleiades Battalion. An attack that even the walls of the Imperial Capital of Lupugana, boasted for their robustness, were unable to resist even briefly.
There was a thunderous roar, a terrific plume of dust enveloped them, and then, the ramparts were opened via brute force.
Seeing this overwhelming spectacle, Subaru performed a fist pump, while Beatrice in his arms opened her round eyes wide.
Beatrice: [For that wall to be so easily… That’s too absurd, I suppose…]
Tanza: [――That is the Pleiades Battalion.]
Descending from amidst the dust as to respond to Beatrice’s horrified mutter, came Tanza.
Dusting off her kimono, she was the sort of girl whose facial expression would barely ever stir; however, on this occasion, she seemed to be just a little proud of herself.
Even though she did not show much camaraderie, she had recognized herself as a member of the Pleiades Battalion. Otherwise, she would not have been affected by the “Power of Unity”.
However, Beatrice did not seem to like Tanza’s attitude.
Beatrice: [You have an impudent expression on your face, in fact…!]
Tanza: [Even if you call it impudent, this is the face I was born with.]
Beatrice: [Facial expressions are different, I suppose! They can be changed, in fact.]
Louis: [Uhh! Ahh, uhh!]
Looking down at the clearly aloof Tanza, Beatrice, who was on horseback, had her face flush. Then, as if taking Beatrice’s side, Louis, who had been clinging to Subaru’s back, also began to make a fuss.
To the frenzied girls, Subaru raised his voice with a “Waitwait, calm down!”, before continuing,
Subaru: [Don’t fight! We’re a team! Comrades! A Unit!]
Tanza: [Understood, Schwartz-sama.]
Beatrice: [Grrrrr, I suppose.]
Beatrice cocked her head in confusion at the unfamiliar echo, whereas Tanza bowed, as it was a familiar one.
Knowledge of Gladiator Island was the difference between those reactions, but Subaru’s lips curved as the atmosphere seemed to become more and more like a spark for Beatrice’s anger.
However, rather than Subaru moving to mediate there――,
???: [Damn you, prepare yourselves――!]
A lone Imperial Soldier, creeping up amidst the dust created by the collapsed walls, raised his sword, training it on Subaru riding atop horseback.
Even if it was hard to believe, to this enemy soldier before them it was clear that Subaru was the leader of this group. It was the way of the Empire to not underestimate children, even if they did not know any better.
Therefore, the soldier’s sword veered not from its aim, and was driven into Subaru――,
In an instant, the force hugging Subaru from behind became stronger, and his vision changed in a flash.
What had occurred was plain and simple, in the blink of an eye, the Galewind Horse had moved―― No, it had teleported away from the spot it had been standing just before.
Idra: [W-what…? Uurf…]
The sudden teleportation caused Idra, the holder of the reins, to swoon, involuntarily coming to vomit, his internal organs upset. Subaru also felt like his body remembered this sensation, that of the unusual power Louis at his back possessed.
Imperial Soldier: [Wha-!? Ku… Guah!?]
With a brief chant from Beatrice the Imperial Soldier was covered by a cloud, and a fluid kick from Tanza swept the legs of the stunned Imperial Soldier in splendid fashion, knocking them down onto the ground, lost of consciousness.
After this momentary display of teamwork, the two who achieved it exchanged glances from on and off the horse,
Tanza: [Excellent work.]
Beatrice: [You too, your moves weren’t bad, in fact.]
Thus, the tense atmosphere that had prevailed earlier completely changed, as they acknowledged each other.
Subaru: [Well, it’s good to see you little girls warming up to each other… By the way, Louis! Don’t do that so suddenly, you’ve turned Idra’s stomach inside out! Even though it helped a lot!]
Louis: [Ahhh, uh!]
Subaru: [Hmmm, good answer! Idra, take a deep breath! This is the first time that happens but maybe not the last.]
Idra: [I-I’ll try my best…]
With the power of Louis’s teleport, at least one unforeseen accident had been averted.
If push came to shove, Subaru would not hesitate to make use of it, no matter how much Idra would be about to throw up.
Subaru: [Not like I could handle two or three in a row to begin with… Gustav-san! Hiain! Weitz!]
At the call of the reinvigorated Subaru, the faces in front of the collapsed wall looked back at him. One-by-one, they looked into the eyes of that familiar face with a firm gaze.
Subaru: [I’m counting on all of you!]
Gustav: [I will, in my capacity, fulfill my duties. You ought to do likewise.]
Hiain: [Let’s get it! Time for the triumphant return of the Pleiades Battalion in its full and imposing force!]
Weitz: [Schwartz, we’ll defend this place to the last… Go take that throne…!]
Gustav’s group headed off to another battlefield, Weitz’s group stopped to defend the collapsed walls; and as Subaru left his dependable men to their respective posts, he poked Idra in the chest with the back of his head.
As he got headbutted, Idra looked like he was holding Subaru in his arms as he rode the Galewind Horse,
Idra: [Well, we got in. Looks like we’re the first ones.]
Laughing bravely, Idra rode the Galewind Horse over the wreckage of the city walls and into the inner city. While swaying to and fro’ on the same horse, Subaru also entered the Imperial Capital of Lupugana.
The cityscape of the Imperial Capital hidden within the high walls could not be seen in its entirety from the outside, but it was a methodical, orderly, and disciplined arrangement of buildings.
Subaru: [The city’s representative must be a nervous wreck to build it like this.]
If the person in question had been listening, they might have argued how impossible it was for them to be responsible for adding on to a city that was built hundreds of years ago.
So, having stated this one-sided impression, the Pleiades Battalion surged into the Imperial Capital.
Their goal was――,
Beatrice: [Subaru! What should we do, I suppose!?]
Tanza: [Schwartz-sama, what shall we do?]
Louis: [Uau! Au, aa, uhh!?]
Subaru: [Of course, it’s obvious! Head straight to the Crystal Palace of the Imperial Capital! Let’s rub this warm welcome straight into the pompous face of His Excellency the Emperor!]
Subaru, having been asked this question by all the girls at once, responded to them collectively.
Beatrice, Tanza, and even Louis all nodded in reply to Subaru’s answer, but only Idra, who was forced to be close to all of them, muttered quietly,
Idra: [On the battlefield with four children in tow… I guess I didn’t have the talent of a warrior after all.]
Indeed, that was a fitting thought for a miller.
――And, concurrent with the Pleiades Battalion led by Natsuki Subaru breaching the city walls, being the first to finally enter the Imperial Capital of Lupugana.
???: [Surely, I had not expected you to be so dogged.]
Groups of rebels were besieging the Imperial Capital in their plans to overthrow the very foundations of the Empire―― And the fixed destination for all of them, expending their lives for the sake of reaching it, was the Crystal Palace.
The throne room was located in the most elevated, most prestigious room in the castle. With the national banner of a wolf pierced by swords hoisted on the wall behind it, and a blood-red carpet laid out before it, present there was the throne upon which all the authority of this Empire was concentrated; and upon it, the Emperor sat.
Young, intelligent, and as ruthlessly beautiful as a finely sharpened blade, the Emperor did not change his complexion even as the masses came flocking in, their swords pointed at his throat.
Despite what he himself had stated, the situation nevertheless surpassed his expectations.
???: [Out of the countless threads you have laid out, up to which layer were you referring by that?]
As this was the throne room, those words were too irreverent to be uttered to the Emperor who was seated on his throne.
However, there was neither a loyal retainer to condemn that insolent man, nor were there any soldiers to behead him, and the room echoed with the sound of the intruder’s presumptuous footsteps on the carpet.
There was also another inscrutable thing, within the vacant throne room.
Supposing others were present in the room, they would have frowned upon this fact. ――Or perhaps, they could not even have frowned.
Because in order to recognize that fact, one would need to have sufficient reason to break through the cognitive block.
A gift had once been presented to an ancient Emperor, by a tribe he had shared a friendship with.
A mask that took after the Oni Clan, a clan created for the sake of killing the most terrifying existences in the world, making those gazing upon it to avert their eyes in fear of what laid on the other side of the mask.
Therefore, it was not easy to recognize that the tone of voice of the person wearing the oni mask was exactly the same as that of the Emperor.
And so, a presence had made its appearance before the Emperor Vincent Vollachia, bearing the same tone of voice as the Emperor, striding proudly and fearlessly through the throne room as if it were his own.
That presence was――,
Vincent: [Unsurprisingly, you are emotionless to the very core. ――Even when you look up from below at the throne you were ousted from like this.]
Alas, it was the triumphant return of the rightful Emperor, who’d had no recourse but to abandon his throne before.
 The sai is a traditional weapon from Japan used for both stabbing and striking foes, with the shape of a sharp metal talon with two shorter prongs to the sides. For more information, see here.