Behind the scenes – The Malice Sprouting Quietly
“So? You’re saying this is the report?”
“That is correct, my Lord.”
This country, it is currently the country with the greatest momentum in the entire continent.
This country was neither Alturia, nor Newbyst.
As a country, it is one with an abnormally fast development. The sudden expansion of its territory is clear evidence of their capabilities.
A castle with a distinct Oriental feel… the buildings constructed with precise woodwork, all of it coming together without the use of a single nail marked the pinnacle of craftsmanship, enchanting whoever cast their eyes upon it.
Defensively, the building was surrounded by a large moat followed by a tall wall equipped with cannons, thusly making it not a simple feat to fall.
Above all else, the building was built on a naturally formed stronghold. It was due to this towering cliff behind them that regardless of whether their enemies wanted to or otherwise, that they no other choice but to fight them face-on.
Even though this domain immersed in its harmony with nature was not as grand as the Holy Forest of Newbyst, it was still a blessed piece of land covered with a soothing green that could heal the heart.
This was the country they call Granend.
A few decades ago, this quiet country which had been living at peace with its surrounding nature… I wonder if you could call it that? In any case, it was a country full of quiet, calm people and its citizens didn’t hold the ambition for expansion.
However, a few generations ago, the country’s sovereign who they named the King had suddenly changed the direction they were leading. They had started to develop the land at a rapid rate, invested in technology, reorganised the government structures as well as its policies…
There had been those who had went against the country’s sudden changes and quite a few of those had felt a sense of danger.
However, not a single one of those people were alive anymore. According to the Granend’s “Revolution of Blood”, it is because most of them had been kept under a strict regulation.
And then after a few generations, the Sovereign that had been chosen as the King continued pushing for a territorial development, continued to wage one war after the next, conquering their neighbouring countries, which eventually lead to them acquiring their current gigantic powerhouse of a country.
This country’s history compared to its current wealth was extraordinarily shallow. Other countries too, don’t hold a fond impression of Granend, not wanting to get too involved with them.
Inside this castle… inside a room in which you had to take off your shoes before entering, a rarity in this country, were three men sitting down on an ebony floor.
One was drenched in cold sweat as they gave their report, the leader of the Secret Intelligence. The man reporting his intelligence was merely retelling what they learnt, but he had known this Sovereign since he was young.
However, having seen his transformation even since he had been chosen as Sovereign with his very eyes, and knowing his uncanny and terror is the cause of the man’s current tremors. After all, he might lose his head at the whim of the Lord.
The other man in the room was blind. Wearing the country’s unique outfit – a hakama and an undershirt – with a straight sword, a single-edged sword hanging from his shoulder.
His black hair which appeared almost violet in colour flowed down his back, his seated posture dignified. His back as straight as a rod, and his two arms that slightly peeked out from his undershirt appeared muscular and tempered to the very limits.
He was a very beautiful man; his closed eyes were as dignified as his figure, his oval-round face smooth.
That man, regardless of his closed eyes, was looking towards the leader of the Secret Intelligence. And although it seemed like a contradiction, he had the appearance of a person who would not let a single detail escape from his eyes.
The remaining man had a smaller frame compared to the other two.
He had his reddish-brown hair loose, roughly kept, giving him an aura of carelessness. However, despite the youthfulness still present in his features, there was a definite air of dominance and, there was a wrinkle sitting on his brow at the moment.
This last man was also dressed in the outfit of this country, however it was an outfit that chased after practicality to the extremes and thus it didn’t leave the impression that it was only there for show. It was a piece of clothing that was easy to move in, and tough to tear.
“And? Oh, Arankul. Are you certain that Sounity has been usurped away from us?”
“If I recall, that is where I sent Renha away to, hmm. So why is it that the land has been snatched up by some Mercenary Corps?”
“That is… Lady Renha’s mission ended in a failure…”
“Is that so?”
The man with the small frame tossed the report away, crossed his legs together casually as he glared at the leader of the Secret Intelligence, Arankul.
“And? How was Renha dealt with?”
“Well… it appears that the Gourmet Princess of Newbyst has sheltered her and thus we currently don’t know her whereabouts…”
“So that’s how it is…”
“My-my most sincere apologies, Lord Gib!”
Arankul gets down on both of his knees as he begged for his forgiveness.
It was precisely this small-framed man, who was sitting at the very top of this country. It’s Sovereign.
“…Do you think that as long as you lower your head, I’ll just forgive anything?”
Arankul’s shoulders tremble in fear.
“Find Renha and go deal with her. There’s no more use in keeping her any longer. I don’t need a child who can’t even do a single thing right.”
“But? Did you say something?”
Hearing Gib’s voice, Arankul lowered his head to the point of rubbing it against the floor.
“No-nothing, my Lord! I will begin my search for her immediately and deal with her!”
“Alright, alright, go already. I won’t accept another failure, got it?”
Arankul jumps up before rushing out of the room, stumbling along the way.
Gib turns toward the blind man and laughs cheerfully.
“Kuhahaha! Man, I (washi) have really gotten used to this, huh?”
“Indeed. Your voice truly has the qualities resembling to that of our ‘Master’.”
“Is that so. Oh, Quara Hien, do you think that I can become something like that of our Lord?”
“That is impossible, I must say. That person is a king among kings.”
“You’re right! Even wanting to become something like that of our Lord is already more than ridiculous, right!”
Gib continues to guffaw, even going as far as slapping his knees.
Quara lets out a sigh, before lightly tapping the floor with the sword on his back.
“So? What is it that you plan to do with that country?”
“At some point I’ll direct a commander of the ‘Mikki Hitoma’(Three Ghosts One Demon) to deal with them. Now’s not the time. I want to fatten them up a little more.”
“…You want to use my foolish little brother as well? That is a demon, an invention of our Master. It isn’t something you can control easily.”
Gib stops laughing and looks up at the ceiling.
“Where are those ‘things’ right now?”
“Some battlefield somewhere. Probably swinging around the divine sword Rokugarasu as always.”
“Is that so… Oh, Quara. Your little brother had also become one of those but-”
“I’ll say the same thing no matter how many times you ask me. My brother was exhilarated to have been ‘chosen’ by Ryuufa. If his conscience is to vanish one day then I can only accept that as his fate.”
“What about Magi, Buki, and Ouki?”
“Ouki is on his way back. The other two are still fighting in two separate front lines.”
Gib stands up while tidying up the hems of his clothes. Although the floors were shiny clean, absolutely dirt-free, it had already become a habit of his.
“I will go report to our Lord. Oh, Quara. You wait here.”
“As you wish.”
Gib turns around, walking over to the wall behind him.
This room was a sort of conference room and was made to be much bigger than the other rooms. This was where government affairs and audiences were conducted.
The seat where Gib had been sitting was the seat at the very top. It was made to be taller than all the other ones.
Gib places one of his hands onto the wall behind him, and the wall disappeared with a, su.
It vanished as if it was some kind of illusion, but neither men appeared surprised. In front of them was a wooden passage that lead further down.
Gib went down the stairs. The walls at the sides of the steps were equipped with magically engineered lamps, keeping the area bright.
Soon Gib reached the lowest floor.
This was a jail specifically made to contain the most insane people. The area Gib arrived in had just enough space to ensure that an audience can be held, and in front of him was a cell.
However, this cell was much more decorated than any other room or hall, embellished using every sort of technique to make the place as pleasant as can be.
Gib sits down in front of the jail and lowers his head.
“My Lord. There is something to report.”
Inside this jail lined with tatami mats was a man.
The man had a head full of white hair despite him being in the prime of his life. Additionally, he had a great posture, with an intimidating and solemn air to him.
The man was reading a book. But more than that, what one would notice first would be the innumerable number of books and pages scattered all throughout the tatami cell.
The man who had been sitting in a seiza as he read asked without moving his gaze from the book.
“What? Has the suppression of Sounity concluded?”
“No. There was an interference and it appears we failed.”
Instantly, the sound of a gunshot rung out.
Before Gib’s eyes was a scar left by the piercing of a bullet. Without even turning his gaze away, the man sitting inside of jail had attacked him with the ‘Gun’ he was holding.
A line of cold sweat rolled down Gib’s back.
“Did I hear wrong? Or could you not hear what I commanded?”
“No, we had failed due to the interference of Ganglabe’s Mercenary Corps. We are taking measures against them now.”
“I see… got it. However, don’t be too rushed. It’s still too early to feed them.”
“What do you mean?”
“They have one, right? A ‘stranger’.”
At those words, Gib looked up with surprise.
“You already knew, my Lord?”
“You had a report about Ganglabe’s Mercenary Corps before, right? I knew of it since then. That, there was someone just like me, a stranger who had been rejected by time and space.”
“…It is just as you say. There is definitely such an existence amongst them. Their growth and fame are truly abnormal otherwise.”
“Exactly. There’s no meaning in snatching them away after letting them grow all this time. It would then be a teahouse made of sand, lacking in foundation. We strangers should be supporting one another instead. There’s nothing of benefit in snatching them away.”
The man finally turned to face Gib for the first time.
Gib turns away his gaze subconsciously. This is because the Lord’s eyes always seem to pierce right through him.
Back when he was chosen to become the Sovereign, he was brought here by his father.
Ever since that moment Gib had changed. He had no choice but to change.
After all, he had never thought that at the root of every development in Granend, their ‘Ancestor’, was such a terrifying existence.
In order to interact with him, in order to look him straight in the face, Gib had become stronger. To the point where everyone around him would say that he was a completely different person.
However, despite all that, his wish to look directly at his Lord’s eyes has never been granted.
“Bring that stranger to me.”
“I’m interested in that person. One might never know… perhaps he might be like Soujirou… Okita Souji, originating from the same world as me.”
Gib bows again and says.
“My Lord, Oda Nobunaga.”