Chapter 357: 187. To the Theocratic Empire (Part Two)
Translated by A Passing Wanderer
Edited by RED
She had never really seen my face up close. I always wore the Paladin armour and the helm during my adventures back in Aihrance, and I wore the bird-beak mask while I was rescuing Marcus, after all. So the only time she saw me would’ve been during the Holy Emperor coronation, when I stood on the palace’s balcony to wave my hands at the crowd. But I’d been very far away from her at that time.
“Your Majesty the Holy Emperor,” Marcus introduced softly after dropping his voice.
It was right then that the booze mug slipped out of Yuria’s grasp; she was deeply stunned by that revelation. “Ah?! Y-Y-Your Majesty? D-do I need to, you know, follow decorum?”
I could see that she was clearly flustered, so I waved my hand lightly. “Nah, there’s no need.”
Yuria could only stare at me with a dazed face.
Gril smirked at her reaction, the corners of his lips quivering happily. Then he addressed me in a very friendly way, “Your Majesty! It’s been a long while, sire!”
In this wide world, Hans and Gril were probably the only people who could speak to me in that familiar fashion.
Ah, wait a minute. There were also Luan, Hilda, and Seran too, weren’t there? On top of that, my other older brother Shuppel…
‘Wow, that’s more than I thought, actually.’ I grinned wryly to myself.
“I’d like to express my gratitude to you for saving my family, Your Majesty,” Marcus spoke up while bowing his head.
“We are family, so I only did the obvious thing that anyone else would’ve done, that’s all.”
Although Marcus was my older brother, the current situation meant that I didn’t have to use polite speech here.
I turned my head back to Adolf and his group. “You all did good work back there. I’ll make sure to bestow you all with suitable rewards later.”
“T-thank you, Your Majesty!” The three of them bowed deeply before me.
I nodded slightly in reply, then picked up a mug of booze for myself. While sipping on it, I scanned our surroundings once more and spotted a couple of familiar faces.
They were Laurence and Roy. The two of them were walking around the plaza hand in hand, while munching on their meal.
Roy was making a truly happy face. As for Laurence, his face displayed how fatigued he was, but even then, he didn’t stop smiling.
It seemed that Roy really did meet good parents.
Now that I thought about it…
‘What happened to White, I wonder?’
All the news coming out of Aihrance was cut off after the whole kingdom was overrun. White was still biologically my father, so I couldn’t help but get curious about the news about him.
Not to forget, I also was acquainted with Queen Rox, so it would’ve been a lie to say that I wasn’t worried at all.
‘Well, since it was that dude, he’d probably do something to save his own hide at least, that’s for certain.’
The corners of my lips curled up while taking in the sights of the refugees in the plaza smiling away, small but distinct hope being kindled in their hearts.
“I have to say, this scene does calm me down a lot.”
At the very least, watching them helped me get rid of some of the anxiety in my mind.
The next morning…
The procession of the refugees set off once more.
We had to prepare ourselves to cross the border to the Theocratic Empire as quickly as possible. If not, the only thing waiting for us would be despair.
I climbed up on the skeleton horse and Charlotte got ready to escort me, but then…
“Your Majesty.” Alice stood next to me and bowed her head. There was a carriage with its door open behind her, clearly on standby. “Please, sire. Climb aboard the carriage.”
“No, it’s alright. I’m more comfortable like this.” I pointed to my skeleton horse. “Besides, if you have a spare carriage that I can use, you should let someone else ride in it, instead. That would boost our travelling speed, at least by a little bit.”
Alice made a troubled expression at my refusal.
Charlotte stared at her and asked, “Is there something wrong, Lady Saintess?”
“Actually, I was hoping to inspect His Majesty’s physical condition, Marquis Charlotte.”
Charlotte faltered visibly at those words.
I furrowed my brow, though. “What are you talking about?”
Alice stared straight at my face. “It’s to confirm something, sire. Please.”
Since she was being so serious here, I found it hard to say no to her. In the end, I boarded the carriage, and once the door was closed, I took off my top.
Alice touched my back here and there and began her examination of my physical condition.
“Okay, what’s going on here?” I asked her.
“I’ll have to do an in-depth examination first to figure it out, sire,” Alice replied, having already reverted to her usual manner of speech.
“How long will this take, though?”
“…Around five hours, maybe.”
Holy cow, I’m supposed to stay like this for that long?
I could only groan under my breath.
Alice seemed to be already fully concentrating on her task, her hands quietly pressed against my back. I could sense divinity entering and coursing through my body.
I smacked my lips ruefully and shifted my gaze to the floor of the carriage. There were quite a lot of books placed there. I had asked Hans earlier to secure tomes related to the ancient Jötnar, and these were the ones he had found for me.
Since I had nothing better to do, I picked up one of the books and flipped open its cover.
This particular book contained a tale from the ancient times. More specifically, a tale related to the Jötnar.
There were four ‘kings’ of giants in total.
The Frost Giant, Hrímr.
The Fire Giant, Surtr.
The Earth Giant, Hrungnir.
And finally, the Magic Giant, Utgar.
According to the tome, they wielded different types of powers.
They were originally created by the gods for the purpose of keeping the balance of the world, and also to protect it. However, their arrogance knew no bounds and they started calling themselves the real gods. They desired to annihilate all living things and return the world to the state of primordial nature.
That world would be filled with nothing but ice, flames, and whipping sand, a withered and dead planet where no living creatures existed. That was their ultimate aim.
The gods were enraged by their rebellion and proceeded to seal the giants away. But this had happened such a long time ago that the seal had grown too weak, allowing the vampires to break that seal wide open in the end.
“And among them, Hrímr was the lowest ranked, huh?”
The Frost Giant, Hrímr. Not only was it the lowest ranked among the four Giant Kings, its influence was also supposed to be the weakest as well.
Holy cow. I was required to summon the Skeleton King and then pummel that thing with cannons in order to kill it, yet it was the weakest of the lot?
Seriously, how absurdly strong were the other Giant Kings, then?
The next up in rank was Surtr. It wielded a whip of fire, and naturally burned everything down. It loved to burn and torture the living for fun, and the bibles even described the bastard as a devil given form.
We were getting pursued by that giant right now.
It was right at that moment that Alice, who had been diligently checking my physical condition, muttered in a dazed voice, “It’s all broken.”
(TL: In 3rd person POV.)
“It’s all broken,” Alice murmured as a dazed expression floated up on her face. ‘It’s going out of control?’
She realised now that the current condition of Allen’s body was quite grave. It seemed that he had deliberately destroyed and artificially regenerated his body somehow.
In less than a month, he had been forced to unhesitantly pour out his divine power against both the Frost Giant and Duke Agares. And then he had even used a legendary weapon on top of everything else!
The burden on his body had multiplied as a result.
‘Even now, he’s still pushing himself recklessly when his body is like this…’
The Holy Emperor was whipping himself mercilessly. It was already a miracle that he had managed to endure it until now.
Allen was jolted out of his thoughts and turned around to stare at Alice. She quietly pressed her forehead to his shoulder and murmured to him, “If the Fire Giant catches up to us, what are you planning to do, sire?”
“Well… I guess I’ll have to go out and fight it.”
“By yourself, sire?”
Allen suddenly went quiet. That made Alice really angry.
This was so obvious. He would most likely try to do everything by himself. Just like how he had done so far, he’d try to resolve everything through his own powers.
“No, you mustn’t.”
Alice tightly clenched her fists. If this went on, an uncontrollable divinity deviation might occur, irreparably damaging his body in the process.
Not just his physical self, but even his soul would be damaged, too!
Allen found her reaction odd and asked her, “What’s wrong?”
“Please, I beg of you. Don’t push yourself.” She raised her head and stared directly into his eyes during her reply. “Your Majesty, please do not forget. I’m from the House Astoria. But not only that…” She then placed her hand on her chest. “I’m also the Saintess tasked with assisting you in this era. I’m Alice Astoria, sire.”
Her voice sounded resolute, determined.
“I, Alice Astoria, swears to fight by your side. That’s why…” She then buried her face on his back once more. “Please. Please I beg of you. Rely on me. Allow me to help you, sire.”
< 187. To the Theocratic Empire (Part One and Two) > Fin.