Chapter 1. Kill the Empress
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“I can’t believe it’s God, the prophet, and the Marquis who was working according to them.”
The murmurs grew more and more excited, and a man who couldn’t resist the exaltation murmured, clenched his fists.
“God is on our side.”
Hartz laughed a little.
As far as he knows, God is not on anyone’s side.
He only winds up a little bit to move man and the world according to his will.
There was just one who was worthy of God’s will, and that was ‘she’.
He just cleaned up the front and paved the way so that the chess pieces could move easily.
But looking at this from a human perspective, they could say that God stood on their side.
Maybe the last breath of God.
“……If what you say is true, I can’t back down now.”
Hans also looked back, suppressing his desire to be elated.
Dozens of pairs of eyes watching him looked at him a little differently than before .
They were eyes that seemed to be waiting for some words from him.
“The emperor is a tyrant with power of death. Many people have fallen before the emperor’s ruthless power, and our foundation, our homeland……. increasingly desolate.”
“This is nothing but a history of self-destruction!”
The voices agreeing with each other grew louder and louder.
Hans took a dagger from his hand and placed it on the table.
“The emperor asked me to get this.”
“What is it?”
“A deciphering sword. A holy relic.”
The whispering became even louder at Hans’ words.
It was too great a danger to let the emperor, who used the unusual power of death, even hold a holy relic that could decipher anything.
It was impossible for Hans not to know that, but why did ‘she’ give it to him?
“When I went to get this……. I met a miracle.”
Someone in a hurry to rush Hnas.
His first glance pierced the young man who exclaimed sharply.
“The one the emperor was most wary of.”
“It was the Empress.”
As soon as Hans finished, a heavy silence descended as if they had made a promise.
Some covered their mouths with trembling hands, and some just pouted their lips like they had forgotten how to speak.
The silence in that moment was heavier than any scream.
They could tell that Hans was not a man of empty words, as no one here could.
This made it even more difficult to speak easily.
Is it true? Didn’t she die? How did she come back to life after being abandoned on that snowy mountain? How can Hans be sure it was her?
All kinds of questions swirled, but the shock that hit them was too great for anyone to speak out.
Moreover, there was the holy relic that ‘she’ gave him.
There was also prophet Hartz.
So who would dare to question or doubt Hans’ words?
They belatedly exhaled their choked breaths hotly and clenched their fists.
“She’s on her way to Tanatos.”
“Is it true? Really, our Empress……!”
A huge hope beat in people’s chests as if they were seasick.
Some sat down, some leaning back against the wall, clutching their chests, as if they could not control the thrill.
“But there’s one thing you need to know.”
“What is that?”
“She no longer wishes to remain as our Empress.”
Everyone woke up in shock.
There was a look of disappointment in their shaking eyes. Hans also knew how they felt.
But he also fully understood the will of the Empress, or Aranrosia.
“She wants to go her own way.”
“No, that means she won’t come back? You said she’s coming here now…”
Hans nodded as if in agreement.
“In order to move into the future, we must clear out the past that has persistently remained.”
“You mean ……?”
Then he looked around at the twenty or so nobles gathered there.
“Her Majesty and I have made the decision to join forces.”
“What do you mean?”
“Let us create a new Tanatos.”
The hearts of the people around the large table pounded one by one.
There was a sense of anticipation and hope in their eyes, as if they had been waiting for it.
But there was also an unquenchable fear underneath.
Why is that?
Even Hans, who spoke these words, was feeling like them.
But he was the one who was determined to lead them.
A leader should not show fear.
Once he made a decision, he had to lead those who followed in an unwavering manner until the target point was reached.
“Would you like to give it a try?”
” Marquis ……”
“Death will no longer hold us back.”
In Hans’ heavy voice was his determination and will.
“I will do my best not to be ashamed of my courage now. So…”
In the darkness, barely lit by a few candles, Hans’ eyes shone like the dawn.
It was the very light that was seen when the darkness cut through the dawn and called the morning.
“Come, will you join me?”
At Hans’s words, his nephew Louis jumped up and shouted.
“Winter can’t beat pines!”
The word lit a dry wick.
The men, who had been buzzing around, kicked off their seats, stood up, and shouted the same sentence.
”Winter can’t beat the pines!”
The words rang solidly through the quiet, abandoned house.
It was their cry of support for Hans.
Hans clenched his fists with effort until the veins in his wrists rose prominently.
His whole body burned as if their voices were searing his soul.
“……Well, I’m sorry to interrupt this inspiring moment.”
Wading through the wave of emotion, Hartz spoke softly.
Dozens of pairs of shifty eyes stared at Hartz.
Hartz smiled awkwardly, feeling a little burdened, and cut to the point.
“I said it earlier. I don’t have much time right now. I need to tell you why I came here…”
Listening to Hartz, Hans realized he had not yet heard what Hartz’s purpose of coming here was.
Because he would not just risk himself to come here just to introduce himself.
Hartz cleared his throat and extended his hand toward someone.
It was the same person who hastily asked, ‘Who is he?’ a moment ago.
“This person is the Emperor’s spy.”
The man was startled and backed away at Hartz’s words.
“Oh, no….I’m not.”
He shook his head vigorously with a look of horror on his face.
“You will find the emperor’s seal in his left pocket. If the emperor catches you all, that’s how he will get out. Before you gathered here, he had made a report to the imperial authorities, so….. The knights will come in in about 10 minutes. So hurry. We don’t have much time.”
At Hartz’s words, someone near Carlson pulled out a knife.
It was Viscount Hutens, who opened the door for Hartz.
The man called Carlson rushed upstairs. Hutens quickly followed him.
The conversation that they had just had should never have flowed into the emperor’s ears.
From the emperor’s point of view, they were plotting to reverse the ruler and sow the seeds of rebellion.
Everyone present, not to mention the Marquis Helio, was bound to be killed.
“We are running out of time. Let us disperse here today. I will take care of Carlson, so everyone goes home quickly!”
At Hans’ shout, the assembled men dispersed urgently.
Hartz, who was wearing a cloak, shouted to Hans, who ran outside.
“I’m going to jump out of the east window on the second floor. Try to get to the drop point!”
When a startled Hans turned around, Hartz had already plunged into darkness.
* * * *
The entrance to Bern, the capital of Tanatos.
It would be a short ride on horseback and within an hour they would reach the outer castle.
Asha climbed a hill where she could see the pointy roof of the towering imperial castle.
She could not sleep, probably because Bern was close by.
After tossing and turning for a long time, she had slipped out of the room with Tamon sleeping next to her.
In the pitch black darkness, the river of stars became brighter and brighter.
Tanatos believed that this river of stars was the souls of the first heroes who founded Tanatos.
It was said that the stars came to the night sky to bless the month of July.
It was the beginning of July, the warmest month in Tanatos, but the dawn breeze was still cool.
With a short breath, the cold air blew in sharply, ripping through the lungs.
Asha drew several breaths, feeling its faint pain.
The cold chill helped her to vividly recall the memory of that day when she was abandoned like a rag in the Krolturian Mountains.
‘…… I’m here, Gillotti.’
The events in the Imperial Palace hazed her like a flashing light.
On her first day in the palace, wearing the crown of the Crown Princess, she saw the hard eyes of her grandfather as he watched Gillotti greet her.
It was a life where every move was monitored.
No matter how many blankets she covered, the cold didn’t go away.
The day she wore the crown of the Empress, Gillotti violently tried to push and shove her.
Asha forced herself to remember and remember again.
Never forget. Never, never let it cloud or blur.
At least not before she saw that b*stard’s head and body split in two!
Anger in the calm purple eyes.
Asha breathed in the dawn air and then returned to the barracks.
‘You must have been tired.’
When she glanced at Tamon, his posture was much more disorganized than before.
Tamon did not feel cold even in Tanatos, and when he slept, he wouldn’t use covers.
Even in his sleep, he pulled all the blankets, wrapped Asha tightly, and held her in his arms.
Because Tamon had wrapped her so tightly, Asha felt the heat she had not known throughout her life in Tanatos.
And that wasn’t even in a castle with a fireplace but in a shabby barracks.
Glancing at Tarmon, Asha shook her head and pulled down the shawl on her shoulder.
As she did so, she accidentally touched Tarmon’s clothes that had been placed on a small table.
A well-folded handkerchief in his coat fell to the floor.
‘……What is that?’
Something familiar came out of the neatly folded handkerchief.