Serius Brad Mūzeg had just climbed down from Lindholm Sacred Mountain and was waiting for the Mūzeg troops to gather.
He had already issued orders to many of the corps and also sent a report to the kingdom.
Serius was now waiting for the practitioner corps, who had been sent first to scout, to return.
「We were beaten quite miserably huh」
「Yes, I humbly apologize」
「You’re not the one who was beaten though」
A member of the imperial guard replied to Serius’ murmur. He was a young man.
「Mihai, how old are you this year?」
「...Ha? Ah, uhm, I have turned 19 this year」
When Serius suddenly asked him that question, the young imperial guard raised a hysterical voice before fixing his collar in a fluster and replied.
His silk-like long blond hair shaked left and right matching his movement, clearly showing the nervousness that the young imperial guard was feeling.
Serius laughed when he saw that.
「Hmm, quite young. Managing to get into the imperial guard with that age huh」
Serius spoke up in an exaggerated manner. Seeing that, the young imperial knight, Mihai, replied,
「The one who selected me for the imperial knights was you, you know, Serius-sama…? I would have been fine with just being your attendant but... I am happy to be able to accompany Serius-sama to the battlefield but, the rest of the soldiers will not be able to accept it…」
Mihai spoke with a troubled voice.
Mihai was originally Serius’ exclusive attendant.
Although he was younger than Serius, from his childhood, there were a few situations that ended up with him taking care of Serius on a day to day basis.
However, although he was doing his work at a place completely separated from the battlefield, Serius selected him to be a part of his imperial guard recently.
The reason was clear.
「You have a rare talent with the sword. The other soldiers would probably not bad mouth you that much either. At the very least, in Mūzeg, as long as you belong to the country, you’ll be respected. ――Moreover, you already showed your skill to the others haven’t you?」
Mihai, who might even be mistaken as a woman at first sight because of his good looks, had a troubled look on his face as he looked down.
「Are you that worried about it? ...Well, if something happens just let me know」
「I could never bother Serius-sama with such private matters. If something happens, I shall handle it at that time」
「I really don’t get whether you’re being strong or weak」, saying so, Serius laughed once more.
After waiting for a while, the captain of the practitioner corps finally reached the foot of the mountain.
With his body wrapped in black clothing, there were multiple black bloodstains on his skin. He reached the base of the mountain to where Serius was.
「No, I have no excuse. I will accept any punishment for this」
「You’re getting ahead of yourself. ...You’re still alive, don’t just go throwing that life away. Mūzeg will use whatever it can use. So, if you’re alive, then use that life for Mūzeg」
「Yes…! I shall definitely live up to the mercy you have shown me」
After having such an exchange with the captain who was kneeling in front of him, he moved onto the main topic.
「Raise your head. What is your report?」
Serius was slightly disturbed because the captain looked like he had aged considerably compared to how he was before being sent out as a scout. 「...I, it was a demon god, your highness. There was a demon god living on the mountain top of Lindholm sacred mountain」
Serius remembered the snow-white haired man who blew away his〈Hammer of the Earth King〉.
「Was it a man with white hair?」
「!! That’s right, it was that man!」
As soon as that was brought up, the captain trembled. It was quite easy to understand that he was trembling in fear.
「That man copied our white light cannon in an instant and offset it immediately」
Copy a technique and offset it.
Serius remembered one man when he heard about this.
It was a story of the past. Long ago, much before he himself was born.
However, it was a story that hit home.
「...It’s like a reverse technique huh」
That was what the〈Technique God〉Flander Crow was known for.
To be precise, it wasn’t just copying the technique and shooting it back but instead was a much more marvelous act.
It was the act of deciphering the opponent’s technique in a moment and weaving the corresponding technique to offset it.
That technique might look similar but that is only because it uses the opponent’s technique as a base for the reversal technique and it is considerably more complicated than just imitating a technique.
The only one who was capable of doing something like that was only someone who had the magic eyes which specialised in deciphering a technique’s phenomenon. Over and above anything,
「So there was someone in this age who had the technique prowess at par with Flander Crow?」
It was only someone who could create all the techniques and had the processing power to do that as well.
The work of great wisdom.
There were no words other than this that matched so well with that skill.
The magic eyes were definitely a threat since they could see through the basis of any and all techniques but the reason the technique god was called the technique god was because his ability when it came to techniques was abnormally high.
Moreover, even without the magic eyes, if the opponent’s technique was slightly slower, the very moment that he weaves his technique, the technique god could weave the corresponding technique before the opponent.
「Furthermore, he finished weaving it much before we did and shot it towards us…」
I see, thought Serius.
When he spoke about that, the captain’s voice trembled the most till then. 『That』 had completely crushed his self-confidence.
「That was a monster, your highness」
If the story is really true, there was a chance of it being a lie after all.
――Was it really the son of Flander Crow and Leilas Lif Lemuse?
He couldn’t help but think that despite the glaring inconsistency in the timelines.
「...if that is true then were there really some spirits there?」
If there was one reason he could give for his prediction, quite forcefully at that, was that there was something that was on the 『mountain top』.
「...Were there any other beings on that mountain top other than the Demon Lords?」
「No, there were none」
「There were none on the mountain top. Just…」
「There were many gravestone like objects there. They seemed to have some words engraved on them but, I definitely did not have the time to read what was engraved. Since I had to carry my subordinates that had been wounded, down to the base of the mountain as soon as possible」
Serius looked up at the mountain top. His gaze could not reach the mountain top that was covered in a white haze.
At this point, he couldn’t very well climb back up to the top once more.
Especially since he had confirmation that there was nothing up there except for some gravestones.
However, personally, he was extremely curious about those gravestones. They were short on time but, eventually he wanted to go and check those gravestones out.
「...Understood. Good job with the report. Well then, I want to hear the opinions of the other members of your corps, is that fine?」
Serius was waiting for the reply for the message that he had sent back to the kingdom. He had already had many soldiers head to the east and chase after the Demon Lords.
He himself wanted to chase after them as well but, his methods were somewhat different from his subordinates.
While waiting for what would become the key for that slightly heretical method, he decided to extract as much information from his subordinates as he could.
When he did that, Serius realised an extremely important information. The reason he was known as the darling child of the age of war. In the face of a frighteningly sharp opponent, he was able to observe and figure out an important information.
While thanking every soldier in the practitioner corps, he asked them for further details on various matters.
Especially, the people with 『abnormal wounds』, he made sure to ask them how they managed to get those wounds.
「...Those that were bisected basically received an immediate death sentence huh」
Among the 『survivors』 around him currently, there weren’t many who had sword wounds. Most of the ones who had cuts had apparently died and were left at the mountain top.
When they were carrying the wounded down from the sacred mountain, the corpses would have just gotten in the way so they decided to leave them behind.
「Your decision was correct, captain. Their funeral will be something that I, myself, will conduct in due course」
Serius spoke with a sunken expression on his face. Normally, he wouldn’t let his feelings show too much on his face but at that time, he definitely had a rather sad look about him.
The captain of the practitioner corps who was nearby felt thankful that the Serius who they revered had such a sad expression for those who had died. He prayed that the ones who had died felt the same way too.
After a moment had passed, Serius changed back to his severe expression and returned to interrogating them.
「If it were cuts then was it the〈Sword Emperor〉?」
「Yes. It was that woman who is the descendent of that Elisa family and was quite skilled herself. She would cut down even the techniques with that demon sword of hers so, it was rather troublesome when she got into close range…」
「In the first place, we sent the practitioner corps so that they could control the situation from a distance and not allow her to get into close range but I suppose that the presence of the other Demon Lords kind of ruined that plan huh」
Serius groaned as he heard what happened from a practitioner who had a strange black mark on his chin.
「I really want that. If the demon sword was handed to a master then it could do wonders with a single swing. Just being able to use its ability to cleave phenomenons alone would end up becoming a huge benefit. ...Over and above that, the〈Seven Imperial Weapons〉are said to have a much larger hidden power in them」
In the previous era’s age of war, at one time there were many demon weapons that were spread around.
At that time, wars were mainly won based on an individual’s combat abilities, strategies and group tactics. However, as more and more countries did that, the difference in strength wasn’t that clear and at that time, a particular country developed such 『weapons』.
If it was said in another way, it was the pattern of the evolution of war.
From fists to a club, from a club to arrows, from arrows to a sword. For humans who were concentrated on war, their attention once more was concentrated on weapons which had already experienced much evolution.
At that time, the ones who prospered were the family of the〈Sword Emperor〉which had one of the demon weapons, the demon sword, passed down from generation to generation.
At present, the ones that Mūzeg had already confirmed were the families of the〈Sword Emperor〉Elisa,〈Spear Emperor〉Kasaris,〈Mace Emperor〉Goz and the〈Bow Emperor〉Sil, those four but Serius had already destroyed the family of the〈Spear Emperor〉Kasaris.
Even now he couldn’t really say that he had already figured out the characteristics of the weapons of the seven imperial weapons but, he had figured out that they all interfered with phenomenons.
The demon sword could cleave phenomenons, the demon spear could penetrate phenomenons, the demon mace could shatter phenomenons. Though they were all weapons but they were able to compete against techniques and it was said that, 『the more techniques prosper, the more valuable the weapons would become』.
「I’m curious as to how they were made but even with the demon spear that I have, I haven’t been able to figure out any use other than penetrating phenomenons after all...」
When Serius had killed the Spear Emperor, he had stolen his demon spear. He used it at times but he had yet to figure out how to use any other powers other than phenomenon penetration. He already knew that it had many other powers hidden within. Such information was widely available.
However, they were all rather abstract and they still had not proven useful at all in figuring out important information related to the seven imperial weapons.
「The spear emperor refused to tell me till the very end as well. ...Well, let’s just leave that be for now. We don’t have the time to research it right now」
Saying so, Serius stopped thinking about that and then Serius noticed the black mark on the chin of that practitioner. It was was if he had been burned.
「How did you get that wound?」
「From that white demon...」
Serius suddenly had a strange feeling.
According to what he had heard so far, that white demon had quite the ability when it came to techniques. Along with the fact that he had stopped Serius’〈Hammer of the Earth King〉, not to mention that he also seemed to have used lightning to attack.
Over and above that, when it came to close quarter combat, he showed that he excelled at that as well.
When he learnt that information, the first thing that came to Serius’ mind and what spilt out without him thinking much about it was,
It was a genuine doubt.
「...why are you still alive?」
The practitioner felt his jaw hanging as he tried to chew through the words that Serius uttered.
「Eh, ah...no, well...」
Might he have done something to get on Serius’ bad side? The practitioner immediately thought that.
What Serius said had not been reproachful but had been a genuine doubt. However, the practitioner was unable to take it as such.
『Why did you come back alive after showing such disgraceful behaviour?』, could it be that Serius was thinking something like that in anger now that he heard about his subordinate’s uselessness, was what the practitioner couldn’t help but think.
There was also the fact that Serius kept his solemn expression as it was and let out a sense of coercion at all times which even he himself was not quite aware of.
That beautiful, statue like sour look of Serius’ helped increase that sense of crisis in the practitioner’s mind.
「A, ahh, your highness, as soon as he received the blow, I stepped in between so…」
At that point, the captain raised a flustered voice and explained instead.
「...is that so」
Serius stroked his chin with a finger with an unsatisfied expression. However, he immediately raised his head and looked at a different practitioner. Serius was looking for another practitioner with a similar burn wound.
The other practitioners wouldn’t help but feel nervous as they kept glancing at Serius, who soon found his intended target.
「...You, why are you alive?」
The same words came out. Serius had pointed at a man who had a burn wound on his neck. At that point, the captain jumped in once more,
「Y, your highness…」
「Wait, this is just strange. …『Not possible』」
When Serius said that, there was no way that the captain could continue to speak up. The practitioner who was pointed at could only look at Serius while quaking in his boots in a breathless state. It was like a frog being glared at by a snake.
「Let’s believe what the captain said about the strike to the chin. Or it could even be construed as the strike to the chin was a precursor to a fatal strike. However, what about that one. ...It’s the 『neck』 you know? The mark looks like it was left by a hand gripping the neck. That is an immediate death sentence. His neck was grabbed by someone covered in lightning and still…『he’s alive』」
A mark left by a hand gripping the neck. If they considered the information that the white demon covered himself in lightning then it could be guessed that the wound was left behind by that lightning covered hand grabbing his neck.
「Did you have your neck grabbed by that demon?」
It was as expected.
「Ho, however, I was immediately helped by my comrades…」
Those words didn’t even enter Serius’ ears. Even if they did, he would probably laugh it off as 「Not possible」.
When his neck was grabbed, 『it would be normal to have his throat crushed』.
There would be no time to save that person anymore. A few moments is all that would be needed to do it. The demon from the information so far should be capable of doing that. If that is the case, the very fact that they were able to save him makes the situation rather suspicious.
Serius looked around at all the other practitioners and noticed that most of them had 『wounds that would be fatal normally』.
Suddenly a thought rose up in Serius’ mind.
There were too many burn wounds. The very fact that one man managed to make so many wounds against so many people would show just how dangerous he was but, that fact held a different meaning for Serius.
They left the bodies behind.
Normally, if it had been the strikes of that strong a person then most of them should have died. However many of them were still alive. However, no one else seemed to think that fact was strange at all.
Most probably, because of the overwhelming power that the demon showed, they didn’t think too much about those facts and were just extremely scared.
However, Serius was different.
The corners of Serius’ mouth raised up slightly. It was a smile.
The captain and all the practitioners there certainly saw that cruel smile on Serius’ face.
◆◆◆ 「Can he not kill…!」
They were the eyes of a predator.
He had found a weakness of his enemy, a way to go towards victory.
It was a scary smile.
It was nothing like the smile of the man who was thanking his subordinates a little while back.
It was instead a 『warrior’s smile』.
「This monster has no 『fangs』. ――Hahaha!! 『A monster without fangs』 huh….! Hahahahahaha!」
The soldiers there, once again, saw the reason that he was known as the darling child of the age of war.
Serius who laughed loudly for a while suddenly stopped laughing.
「――No wait. On the other hand, it could even be seen as there being such a large difference in strength that he could afford to go easy」
Serius was a staunch believer in the fact that humans had animalistic instincts. In other words, 『Even humans who are cornered will bare their fangs』. That was what he thought.
That was why, while noticing that a monster doesn’t have fangs, he could also use that to guess the level of power that the monster has.
――It is of the upper class. 『Quite the upper class of power』.
Although it wasn’t the main force, the practitioner corps were definitely among his excellent subordinates, and yet he was able to reduce them to that state. The practitioner corps could not even manage to make that monster bare his fangs.
If they do manage to corner that monster then will that monster bare his fangs? If he did bare his fangs then, exactly how dangerous would that be?
He could...not imagine it.
「...this is dangerous」
Although at first he had thought that he had found a weakness but suddenly, he felt like he had instead found a landmine that should never be touched.
「Your highness, it has arrived」
While Serius was thinking about these things, suddenly he heard Mihai’s voice. The item that they had been waiting for had apparently already arrived.
「Yeah, I’ll be right there」
――The rest is only after I actually see him huh.
Serius had every intention to chase after them. Those Demon Lords who ran off to the east, he would of course chase after them. He had already made all the preparations. Now it was just a matter of who is able to outsmart whom.
「A mere 20 Demon Lords shouldn’t think that they can match my Kingdom of Mūzeg」
Although he felt a slight fear about that mysterious demon but he offset that feeling with his desire to win.
Whether it is a Demon God or a monster, he did not plan on fighting it from the front and losing.
――I’m carrying a kingdom on my back.
That was Serius’ pride as a warrior as well as a prince.