The genius praised as the ‘darling child’ of the age of war, 〈Serius Brad Mūzeg〉 was standing halfway up the Sacred Mountain of Lidholm, watching the extremely mysterious sight of a golden ship sliding down the mountain slope.
WIth his gray hair swaying in the wind, Serius climbed up Lindholm Sacred Mountain while the elites of Mūzeg stood around him as his guard.
--Even though I said I didn’t need it, they still came along.
He looked around himself and closely observed his subordinates who were exaggeratedly walking close to each other. Those subordinates of his, who were soldiers of Mūzeg’s army, had a resolute expression on their faces and showed off a fearless attitude and along with their well trained bodies wrapped in black armour, they gave off an intimidating air while climbing up the mountain.
Halfway up Lindholm Sacred Mountain, inside the cave like holes that had increased considerably, seeing weird unknown things wandering around those caves, their expressions tightened up. At the same time, their mood gave off a considerable amount of blood-thirst.
Ever since he was a child, Serius didn’t hold much interest towards such things. However, seeing those things in the depth of the caves, he felt a strong curiosity gush forth. Is it alive or is it dead? Is it a physical body or is it a spirit body? They were bodies that he really didn’t understand much.
It may be that, if a living being gets haunted by a ghost with a grudge, they may become like that. It was as if it was a mass of flesh raising a shrill voice.
--Are spirits really things with such little dignity?
The place they were currently headed towards, Lindholm Sacred mountain’s mountain top, though rumored but was said to have 「Heroic Spirits」 living there. Serius didn’t believe those rumours. For one reason or the other, Lindholm’s mountain top was a place that people never went to, so hoping for some fantasy, that rumour was probably created.
In any age, people like to leave behind dreams that could never be fulfilled. If they left them behind in places that could be easily accessed, the truth would be immediately found out so they go out of their way to leave them behind in places that can’t be easily accessed.
--That won’t happen to me.
Thinking that, he looked up at the mountain top.
「Oi, do you really think there are heroic spirits at the mountain top?」
Serius suddenly turned to the subordinate who was closest to him and asked him a question. That soldier, suddenly being asked by Serius, as if he were extremely nervous, answered in a trembling voice.
「Wh, Who knows…, I’m the type who believes in such things and there was also the case of that walking lump of flesh from earlier. ...They might just be real」
While looking like he was drawing back, the soldier spoke up. In response to that, Serius abruptly laughed lightly.
「I see, well, that would be the case huh. After seeing that thing from earlier, it might be odd to be sure that there isn’t any. Though, it could also be thought of as the result of someone’s technique」
「A type of necromancy?」
「There were Demon Lords who have pursued that stuff as well. Especially long ago. --The Demon Lord famous for necromancy at that time, for the sake of his research, used quite a lot of humans as a sacrifice and was hunted down by the Heroes. Though, nowadays, there really aren’t such obvious ‘Demon Lords’ anymore」
Serius, once again, looked up at the mountain top.
「Well whatever, if there really are heroic spirits at the mountain top...we’ll just take their powers as well」
「If it’s Serius-sama, then it would be very easy!」
The soldiers of Mūzeg looked at Serius with eyes of an ardent admirer. Feeling those gazes, Serius felt a vague anxiety. However, he had no idea why he felt that anxiety, he didn’t know what he had imagined which lead to that anxiety nor could he figure out any solid reason for that feeling.
Despite that, if he felt anxiety then the cause could be his innate talent which rang an alarm that exceeded his own understanding. It was probably close to foreboding or maybe a sixth sense.
However, as someone who was both a soldier as well as royalty, in both politics and military affairs, Serius was always rational. Due to that, he decided to ignore that unknown sense of anxiety he felt earlier.
If he let it be, that alarm in his head would be extremely annoying so he used some appropriate reasoning to stop it.
--Well, I am a Hero for these guys.
Serius was already aware that he was being worshiped by the soldiers. That was why, looking at it objectively, he thought that if he accompanied them, they would probably hold some hopes and dreams towards him.
--What am I, a land for unreachable dreams?
He thought it was a little weird. Hoping that the dreams of heroic spirits existing at the mountain top was slightly different but it was also possible that there were some similarities.
--The difference is probably just that, one is close by while the other one is far away...huh?
Due to that, the thought he had at first, ‘Even though I said I didn’t need it, they still came along’ was something he could somehow understand now.
--Being a member of royalty who has come out to the frontlines, though they are my retainers, they are still, at the end of the day, commoners. They probably feel obligated to protect me.
It’s different to leaving their dreams at places that can’t be reached. There is a proper relation there. Over and above that, since they have the power to protect someone, their desire to protect him gets stronger.
--It can’t be helped...huh?
In that way, Serius got convinced.
--Rather, it would have been easier for a single person to move around without minding his surroundings though.
Although that may be the truth but, for the person who may become the next king of their kingdom to be roaming around alone would probably seem to dangerous for anyone to accept.
In the end, Serius had a, ‘Well, might as well let them protect me’ kind of thought and for the sake of the entire army’s morale, accepted the current cramped situation.
It was hardly two minutes later that an emergency situation happened to Serius and the soldiers protecting him.
Suddenly, they heard a voice coming from above them. No, to be exact, it was a voice as well as a noise. A voice that came from the mouths of people and a scraping noise made by something sliding down. The one they heard first was the voice.
「Your Highness!! Please dodge!!」
Being told that, he looked up and what entered his sights was a ‘Golden Ship’. A strange ship that was sliding down the steep slope of the sacred mountain.
The very fact that a ship was sliding down the mountain, while sparkling and dazzling everyone around, was an extremely strange sight.
The ship was displaying a strange acceleration and had its course set to where they were.
The owner of the voice was one of the infantry division members who had gone on ahead and were stationed further up the mountain slope.
It seemed that, having noticed that abnormality sliding down the mountain slope, he quickly climbed down in order to warn them.
He tripped down the slope with an extremely reckless posture that would immediately make you impressed with the fact that he actually managed to keep his footing.
To the soldier who ran down while yelling, ‘Your highness, your highness!’, Serius replied by raising a hand and then immediately turned his attention to the golden ship. They would make contact in a moment.
--A Demon Lord huh.
He was still not sure. However, he also thought that, that was probably the case.
--So that show of force was a failure.
The practitioner corps he had sent to scout probably failed. They thoroughly ran away from them.
The soldier who had run down the slope to warn them was probably not from the practitioner corps but instead from the infantry division that was sent afterwards. That fact was enough to show that, the practitioner corps probably faced quite the fierce opposition.
Though, that was an extremely gaudy ship and was easy to tell that it was actually made by a technique.
--In that case, there are Demon Lords there other than the 〈Sword Emperor〉.
Based on the information from the scouts he had sent to the surroundings of the sacred mountain, there seemed to be many other countries chasing after other Demon Lords and they had all started climbing up the sacred mountain.
In the first place, since they were moving towards the sacred mountain, they had to pay attention to the movements of the other countries and so, in preparation for that, Serius had moved a considerably large force for the current expedition. So in a sense, it could be said that this was an expected situation.
--So the other kingdoms are also all fired up about using the power of Demon Lords huh!
Though it wasn’t something that started at that time but since Serius was the one who brazenly took those powers and showed it off, the other countries seem to have been affected by that and decided to get their hands on that action as well. Though that may be the case, they couldn’t very well just sit aside and allow other countries to get their hands on the powers of Demon Lords.
「Well then, first I need to do something about that golden ship」
Serius unintentionally leaked a small smile at the unexpected incident. It was a warlike smile.
Wars are nice. I’m glad I was born in this age of war. Serius kept thinking such things.
The avarice for power that the successive kings of Mūzeg displayed, led to a lot of research being conducted on the matter and gradually, books filled with knowledge on various types of powers were accumulated.
Reading a lot of those books, he learnt quite a bit from them and steadily accumulated power in himself. Techniques, taijutsu, academics, oration.
Though he can’t say that he learnt all of them perfectly, but he did manage to get a general grasp of the overall concepts.
Recently, he had used that power to conquer Demon Lords. One of them had been the Demon Lord with the title of 〈Spear Emperor〉, which led to him getting his hands on the 〈Demonic Spear〉.
It was an extremely easy to use demonic spear. The spear was similar to the demonic sword of the 〈Sword Emperor〉 which was said to have the ability to interfere with phenomenons.
Afterwards, he went around challenging many other Demon Lords and having beaten them, he would learn their techniques etc, and through self study, he would master them.
Though the powers of Demon Lords are extremely attractive but, it’s not like every one of those powers can be easily stolen. There are those whose bodies have degenerated after a few generations or those who managed to release the limiter of their brains. Demon Lords like those were ones whose powers just could not be obtained.
People like those, he killed. Along with their abilities, he killed off the ability holders. Simple because they might become the enemies of Mūzeg.
However, the ones other than that, the ones who had powers that had a proper form, he properly stole those. He felt that he really should feel thankful for having the blood of the royal family of Mūzeg. Simply because he was able to get the same avarice for power. It seemed to him that the resourcefulness that he displayed was because he was part of that genealogy.
--Well anyway, let’s put a stop to this retrospective.
Having figured out the route that the golden ship would take, Serius got into his battle stance and looked at the golden ship with a sharp gaze.
--That’s something that can’t even be stopped with the demonic spear.
Their speed was also extremely fast.
Even if he somehow managed to stab the ship with his spear, it would probably end in the spear breaking instead.
Making a ship out of money, quite the bad taste.
「Get down, I’ll stop them with a technique」
That would probably be the best option there.
「〈Hammer of the Earth King (Alf Cruz)〉」
It was the technique of the Demon Lord known as the 〈Earth King〉, who was once said to have blown off the mountain top of a certain mountain in a single blow.
The technique would accumulate materials which were extremely hard from under the ground, condense it and after molding it into the shape of a hammer it would shatter anything in a single strike.
Serius invoked that kind of technique.
If he launched that technique against the boatman of the golden ship which was sliding down towards them, even if it were a ship made with gold, it would capsize and ram into the mountain side.
Though he had no idea what king of Demon Lords were in that ship but first, he had to stop it’s movements.
Based on their movements, they probably plan on escaping from the sacred mountain using this method.
--I won’t let you.
--It’s almost here.
The golden ship was almost inside the firing range of 〈Hammer of the Earth King〉. Serius used his rationality to suppress the cruel smile that had almost floated onto his face and to ensure that they wouldn’t get caught up in it, he ordered his subordinates to move away from him.
Finally, the golden ship was close enough to him…
「...〈Hammer of the Sky King (Excil Flora)〉」
At the moment he was about to swing down that hammer, he heard a voice that was different from his own. That voice announced the name of the technique showing that the technique had completely been activated. The voice interrupted his speech with those words, in an extremely elegant voice that resounded throughout the area.
He reflexively looked towards that voice. From inside the object he was planning on swinging the 〈Hammer of the Earth King〉 on, from inside that golden ship,
A man with hair whiter than snow, with a figure that made him look like a spirit showed himself.
With an unbelievable speed, that man had invoked a huge technique with his right hand and with the same pace...he swung it down.
It was but, just a moment. A small gap in time. As soon as he was aware, the man had already started swinging his right hand down.
Serius felt a strange chill and he swung the 〈Hammer of the Earth King〉, rather than towards the ship, he swung it upwards.
The 〈Hammer of the Earth King〉 caused his body to swing up and caused a huge blow to the sky above. A roar sounded. An ear-splitting roar that felt like it would tear the very air apart. As soon as that happened, with a ◆Baki◆ sound, something broke.
At that sound, Serius tilted his head and while blocking his ears, he looked up towards the sky. The 〈Hammer of the Earth King〉 he had used and the Hammer from the sky that the man with white hair had used had caused a whirlwind of mana and were competing with each other.
The black hammer of earth and the white hammer of air.
The one which lost that competition was,
The 〈Hammer of the Earth King〉 that Serius had used.
Through the thread of mana that he had connected to the hammer in order to control it, the shock of his technique being ruptured assailed him.
He felt a great deal of pain inside his head.
In that moment, the golden ship quickly went past him.
Promptly, he summoned the 〈Demonic Spear Kurtad〉 from a space created with a technique and tried to stab the golden ship with it. Though, this time around, that demonic spear was parried by the 〈Sword Emperor〉 Elma, who suddenly appeared from behind that man, with her 〈Demonic Sword Krishra〉.
It was the 〈Sword Emperor〉 he was chasing after.
‘As expected, she was there huh’, thinking that, he realised that his spear would no longer reach the ship. At that point, he decided to at least have his voice reach them.
His voice disappeared into the void. It did not reach the ears of the several Demon Lords on that golden ship.
Neither his voice nor his hands.
Serius turned towards the golden ship that was steadily getting farther and farther away and launched various techniques but they were all beaten down by the techniques of the man with snow white hair.
「After them!! Don’t let them escape!!」
Serius yelled out.
Even though he was still supporting his head with one hand, he still managed to give out orders.
His subordinates started running down the mountain slope but, even Serius knew that they wouldn’t be able to catch up to the ship no matter what.
However, he couldn’t just let them get away, which is why he gave that order.
That one strike from the heavens really resounded inside his head.
To be able to compete with his 〈Hammer of the Earth King〉 and over and above thatm be able to shatter it.
He was extremely strong.
However, he had never seen a Demon Lord like that.
Although, in this age where Demon Lords are a dime a dozen, there are quite a few Demon Lords who he has never seen before but even within the heroic tales of old or the demon lord’s tales, there had never been such a person with white hair and red pupils.
If it were separately then he was well aware of Demon Lords with those characteristics.
--The white hair of the abominable 〈Leilas Lif Lemuse〉.
The Demon Lord who was once known as the 〈White Emperor〉 in Mūzeg. The Hero who was once known as the 〈White Emperor〉 in Lemuse.
Though it was the same title, the meaning they connoted were in contrast to each other. Demon Lord and Hero.
That white hair was very similar to the white hair of the woman who was once called the most beautiful woman in the world.
--The red pupils of 〈Technique God〉, 〈Flander Crow〉.
Serius had a special feeling with that name.
--No, don’t just think about such things based on speculation. Flander Crow is dead.
Though Serius had no idea where he died in the end but he was sure that Flander Crow had regrets. It’s possible that, those regrets had him wandering around Lindholm Sacred Mountain.
--He’s definitely dead.
That alone, is for sure. No matter if he was hailed as the the technique god, he couldn’t go against the flow of time. From that time, the number of years that have passed are amazing.
--Over and above that, he had even taken that poison.
That’s why, that was definitely not Flander Crow. In the first place, if he were a spirit who can only stay in Lindholm Sacred Mountain, there was no way he would be able to go out like that.
While thinking that, for just a moment, Serius had an absurd guess. It was absurd to the point that you would immediately say that it couldn’t possibly be the case.
--Is that, possibly, the child of Leilas and Flander?
Even that, as expected, would be impossible. There was a huge problem known as time, that disproved that guess.
Serius quickly got rid of those thoughts and once again, yelled out to encourage his subordinates.
「After them! After them! They ran to the east! Send a messenger bird to my father! Tell him to start a search in the east!」
While ordering his subordinates, Serius kept his eyes on the golden ship that was disappearing over the horizon.
As expected, there’s no way for me to catch up to them from here.
The way the golden ship was sliding down the mountain, with no regards to its own hull, with a speed that could only be called marvelous.
As if it were a ship of the dead that would go straight down to hell.
「Don’t think you can run away」
I don’t care if you’re going to hell but, leave your powers behind when you do. Leave it in a place where i can reach.
That was him showing off his overwhelming willpower. Serius who was called the ‘darling child’ of the age of war, like his name, showed the willpower of a demon.
--I’m the 〈Hero of Mūzeg〉.
That was the title that the citizens had him shoulder. At the same time, it was also a title that he himself wanted to shoulder.
--I have to, in time, become the king of a powerful kingdom that would cover most of the world. For his motherland, Mūzeg, he would pick up the buds of calamity. And he would use the power of that calamity in order for Mūzeg to grow even more.
〈Serius Brad Mūzeg〉 is the ‘darling child’ of the age of war.