Crow was the alias I used when I hid my identity in my time as a Demon Lord.
The origin comes from when Phal called me Crow when I was wearing this black attire.
Speaking of Crow, there’s the famous three-legged crow that serves to guide your path, Yatagarasu, but in my case, I was called that with the meaning of being the guide to hell.
“…Crow. Haven’t heard that name before.” (Latius)
“Because I came here recently.” (Makoto)
“You, you are from another country?” (Latius)
“The surprised Latius slightly furrowed his brows, however, directs a gaze as if appraising me.
“C-Commander, why are you listening to this guy’s talk this whole time?” (Mir)
“Mir, are you okay?” (Latius)
“I am okay. —Wait, answer my question!” (Mir)
Oya, looks like the noisy lieutenant Mirtoshna, also known as Mir-kun, is back in action.
“You are being noisy, Mir-kun.” (Makoto)
“Shut up! You have no right to call me by that name!” (Mir)
This one really bites to everything. The kind of person that’s nice to tease.
“Commander! I will deal with this gu—”
“Mir, stop… Right now, we are being allowed to live by this man…” (Latius)
Oya? Looks like Commander-san is being quite the understandable man.
“He may be messing around right now, but if this man were serious, we would already be dead.” (Latius)
“N-No way something like that is…” (Mir)
“Then, do you see any openings in that man?” (Latius)
Oh crap. My blood is stirring up a bit.
This man is truly strong. And he also possesses the eyes to see the strength of others. Mirtoshna must have understood what Latius was trying to say, he was making a bitter expression, biting his lips.
“…You understand now? The invisible wall that is around this area is most likely also the doing of this man… Not a single bit of the sounds in the surroundings can be heard. Do you understand what he has done?” (Latius)
“N-No. I am sorry, but I don’t have much knowledge in terms of magic.” (Mir)
“I see. I thought he was a mage, but those movements of his… You experienced it with that very body of yours. You should have realized, the fact that this man is playing around.” (Latius)
It is reality that he was easily dealt with, so he wasn’t able to say anything back.
“Accept it. This man here is far stronger than me… A bottomless Monster. And there’s one other monster comparable to him out there.” (Latius)
“Commander… No way… Wh-What’s with this? …I didn’t hear about a man like this being in Motoyasu!” (Mir)
Mirtoshna was extremely confused, and Latius was silently looking at the surroundings. However, it has been a while since I have been called a Monster by a human I have first met.
“Don’t know… But to think there’s a man like this. The world is truly vast.” (Latius)
“Commander, calm down, okay?” (Mir)
“I know. However, I was thinking how much of a waste it is to have a soldier of this caliber in front of me, and being unable to fight him.” (Latius)
Oh my, he is a battle junkie just like the previous king. Also, I am not a soldier.
“I will go to the Empire to hang out one of these days, so how about withdrawing this time around?” (Makoto)
“…I refuse.” (Latius)
“That so.” (Makoto)
“—Is what I want to say, but it is obvious that we are the ones on a disadvantage here.” (Latius)
Mirtoshna shouts ‘Commander!’, but it was ignored, and Latius looked straight at me.
“Should I take that as you declaring your withdrawal?” (Makoto)
“That’s right. —And so, if I offer you my head, you will let the others live?” (Latius)
“Don’t want it. Rather than that, I am counting on you with a message for His Majesty.” (Makoto)
“—! …Message, you say?” (Latius)
I am not a headhunter or anything, so I don’t want something like that. What I want is a proper messenger.
However, the moment I said ‘message’, slight agitation showed in the face of Latius which I didn’t miss, but there’s no need to pursue that at this time.
“About the message: ‘The Motoyasu King has recovered. If you are going to stir the pot further, we are not going to stay silent either’. Make sure to tell him verbatim.” (Makoto)
“…What’s the meaning of this? I heard that the Motoyasu King was under an incurable disease.” (Latius)
Looks like they still haven’t heard about the king’s recovery.
The scout that was sent last night from the Motoyasu capital -apparently someone who excelled in body strengthening magic- had managed to make a round trip to where the Empire’s army was. In that case, if they had someone from Motoyasu cooperating with them, they should have been able to tell them about the King’s recovery, and yet… This is strange.
“From the looks of it, you didn’t hear anything about this from your collaborator.” (Makoto)
“…You know that much, huh.” (Latius)
“Yeah. We already know that you have joined hands with the country-selling Bald Geezer. —Ah, if you have a secret message or something of the sorts, give it to me. That Bald Geezer doesn’t leave evidence behind, so it is difficult to corner him, you see.” (Makoto)
Looks like Latius really didn’t know about the matter of the King.
Then, he purposely hid the information?
But no matter if he has recovered, he still can’t get up from bed, so there shouldn’t be the need to fear such a king.
…Ah, now that I think about it, he did say that he would eliminate that ‘hard-to-kill bastard’, so maybe he thought there was no need to tell them since it would be the same result? If that’s really the case, I can only call him an idiot. The other thing could be that the messenger acted out of orders. Can only assume in that area, but the fact that the information was hidden will make the trust they have with the collaborator to crumble.
“Looks like there’s the possibility we were set up.” (Latius)
See? Latius seems like he is beginning to misunderstand something. Well, that’s convenient for me, so let’s leave it be.
“Understood. But can you listen to one request of mine?” (Latius)
“Hah… Fine. —Let’s finish this quickly.” (Makoto)
“Is it okay?” (Latius)
“Am I wrong? I am not so stupid as to not get it with that kind of bare battle spirit directed at me.” (Makoto)
“I see… So you are the same.” (Latius)
Latius was dumbfounded for a moment, but his shoulders soon shake and he answers in that way.
“C-Commander! What are you thinking?!” (Mir)
“Don’t worry. I won’t kill him… Well, he might get slightly injured though.” (Makoto)
Mirtoshna had his eyes go round in surprise listening to the conversation of Latius and me. He looked at the face of both of us and stepped in to stop us.
“Mir, step aside.” (Latius)
“This is my own selfishness. —Even if something happens, I want the others to not do anything.” (Latius)
Latius looks straight at me and takes a stance with his sword. Looks like Mirtoshna judged that it was pointless to say anymore, he steps back as told.
“A man doesn’t go back on his word.” (Makoto)
“I see. —Then, I will give out the order of withdrawal to the army, and I challenge you to a one on one.” (Latius)
He looked straight at me and…
“Garusha Empire army, Royal Army’s General -Latius Shutard!”
Latius loudly introduces himself and raises his sword high up with a backhand grip.
Honoring the opponent, I also introduce myself.
I don’t know the etiquette of a one on one, but I unsheathe the kodachi on my waist and raise it up with a backhand grip.
“Ready, set…” (Latius)
A moment of silence.
The people outside must have noticed something strange was happening inside the Silent Box even if they can’t hear anything in it, they were looking at the inside with interest. A number of gazes gather at us.
I feel like I have been used in a smooth way as a ‘reason’.
The calmness he had before was blown away somewhere else, and raising a roar as if he were a ferocious wild beast, Latius kicks the ground with the spirit of a warrior and headed straight to me without hesitation.
Nice nice! A straight on match huh. I love those!
What a refreshing warrior with pride. With that praise in mind, I was thinking of receiving that spirit of his, and so, I kick the ground and lunge at him.
However, don’t think badly of this.
I don’t have the leeway to enjoy this. I have to completely crush you with a single attack, or you won’t be able to get an acceptable justification for you guys to withdraw, right? This one on one is for that sake after all.
…But it is truly a shame.
The sword ogre that is coming at me from in front with fascinating simple honesty and with sharpened fighting spirit, in an instant, blade and blade, gaze and gaze cross, and a single flash of weapons shone…
That eye to eye that didn’t require words, at that moment alone, spoke fluently.
Motion and nature; ferocious and gentle; in this one second of trembling delight and joy, this is the instant of swords clashing that provides the best moment for a warrior.
Passing by, there was clear feedback from the swung swords. However, a feedback surpassing that ran from the chest through his whole body, and Latius had to stomp the ground, but his face stiffened in pain, and unable to endure it, he dropped down to a knee.
“…I am okay.” (Latius)
Mirtoshna hurriedly runs to where Latius is, but he stops him, and wringing out his strength, he stands up.
At the place where he turned to, there’s the black attired man, that at a glance looks like he is filled with openings, completely devoid of injuries and seemed to be enduring a yawn. On the other hand, at the chest of his armor, around the area of his heart, there’s a giant crushed part. Seeing this, Latius understood what happened at that instant.
(To think it would be to this extent…)
Just a single exchange.
His swing that had his everything was easily parried, and as they were passing by, he put his palm on his chest and drove it in.
That’s right. Latius’s best had lost to a simple palm. On top of that, it was far from all his power. He held back, and with a single open palm strike, he managed to leave a giant dent in the Magia Armor that was created with the amalgamation of the Empire’s best techniques. Also, he prides in his body as a warrior, and yet, that single strike was plenty enough to crush everything without effort. However, he felt that this instant was more fun than everything, and a smile naturally surfaced in the face of Latius.
“…Kuku! You are truly a monster.” (Latius)
“Well, thanks. But I think you have bones broken, so don’t push yourself.” (Crow)
The aloof voice of the black attired man -Crow- stirred his heart.
How regrettable. Parting ways like this is so regrettable it is unbearable. Being pushed by that emotion, Latius said something that he himself couldn’t believe.
“Want to come to Garusha?” (Latius)
Mirtoshna being surprised was natural. Inviting the man that is standing on their way as an enemy to their own country is out of the question.
Latius also understood this, but his blood as a warrior was stirring and telling him: ‘If you let him go now, this man will become the enemy of the Empire’.
“I don’t mind going there to hang out, but I don’t plan on doing any government service.” (Crow)
“…I see.” (Latius)
While feeling sadness at the clear rejection, Latius laughs weakly.
“Then, when you come visit, please do call for me.” (Latius)
“Hm, okay. Don’t attack me even by mistake, okay?” (Crow)
“Fuh! …I won’t do something underhanded like that.” (Latius)
“No, I don’t think there’s anything to worry about you, but the guy beside you looks as if he wouldn’t shut his beak.” (Crow)
He wouldn’t do something like that even if he had to swear on his honor as a warrior. With a single duel, Latius had been enchanted by this man called Crow.
On the other hand, Mirtoshna, being told by Crow that he was talkative to a fault, he glared at Crow.
“Mir, order all troops to retreat. I won’t allow objections. —Got it?” (Latius)
“…Yes, sir.” (Mir)
Being given the order of Latius, Mirtoshna reluctantly nods with vexation leaking out.
Respecting Latius’s emotions of being fair and square, Mirtoshna glared at the black attired man, however, he didn’t voice out his pent-up resentment, and just speaks straight.
No matter the attitude Mirtoshna takes, he acknowledges the strength of Crow. He does acknowledge it, but it looks like it is still difficult for the young Mirtoshna to honestly accept it.
“Crow, sorry but, can you please undo this magic?” (Latius)
“Hm? Ah, right.” (Crow)
Being asked, Crow hammers his palm as if he had just remembered.
But in an instant, a flood of sounds that pierced through the silence made Mirtoshna reflexively cover his ears, and he looks at his surroundings.
“Oi, Phal, it is finished, so come over.” (Crow)
The voice of more than tens of thousands can sometimes become a deadly weapon. Mirtoshna felt that with his very own body, but when he saw the person that jumped over the fallen people and landed, his eyes went round in surprise.
“…A maid?” (Mir)
Landing at the side of Crow, the girl in maid clothing bowed elegantly.
No matter how he looks at her, she is a maid, but the cat ears and mask that were giving him an out of place feeling, and also that tail, were pushing Mirtoshna into a spiral of confusion.
“That girl is your comrade, huh.” (Latius)
“A reliable partner.” (Crow)
“Beastkin…or not. Doesn’t seem to be the case.” (Latius)
“Please don’t mind that part. This is her hobby.” (Crow)
Crow answers the question of Latius in a lighthearted manner, and the maid girl at his side was showing a faint smile with a queer pose. Her looks were about to deceive them, but there’s the scent of the strong coming from her body that Latius had felt, and he sighed with heartfelt regret.
“…I see. This world truly is vast.” (Latius)
Latius seemed to be having a sagely moment, but his body suddenly swayed, and Mirtoshna hurriedly supported his body by lending him a shoulder.
“No, more importantly, I think it is better if we hurry.” (Mirtoshna)
Now that the invisible wall has disappeared, there’s nothing isolating them in the surroundings.
They didn’t hear the conversation that happened inside the wall, but their commander, Latius, suffered an irrefutable defeat against the black attired intruder that had suddenly appeared. The soldiers who are deeply loyal to Latius might get emotional and attack, so there’s the need to deal with this as soon as possible.
“All troops, listen!” (Latius)
Holding his paining chest, Latius raised his voice in a way that it can reach every corner, and as if taking his place, Mirtoshna speaks.
“Royal Army General, Latius Shutard had a one on one fight with the person here, Crow, with the Army Withdrawal on the line, and lost. I -Mirtoshna Ophenbal- was witness of this!” (Mir)
The voice of the two resonated in the grass-covered plain without any obstructions.
“There must be some who cannot acknowledge this, there must be some who have questions about this…however! This one on one was a duel with their honor on the line!” (Mir)
The shouts of Mirtoshna had their emotions in them as he continues.
“Is the Latius Shutard that you guys respect someone who would break a pact of honor?!” (Mir)
At some point in time, only the voice of Mirtoshna resonated in this plain that is now covered in silence, and those burning feelings of his became a torrent and were enveloping the place.
After one breath…
That silence was broken, many voices praising Latius rang, and this became a single wave as it filled up the plain.
“Then accept this result! —We are going to retreat from the Motoyasu Kingdom. Objections are not accepted! After finishing the treatment of the injured, we will immediately begin the retreat!” (Mir)
At the side of Mirtoshna who is giving out clear orders, there’s Latius smiling at that figure of his while holding his chest. Crow was looking at those two with his eyes narrowed as if that sight of them was dazzling.
The Garusha Empire’s invasion to Motoyasu has lowered its curtains with the Empire army’s retreat.
And this was also where the black attired man -Crow- that moved in the shadows had appeared in the front stage for the first time.