V2 Chapter 116: The Invitation

The Nakayama army, led by the youngest brother Kagari, returned triumphantly to the Western Capital after suppressing the rebellion on Mount Taikouzan, incited by the remnants of Mount Ganzan.

The news of victory had already been delivered by advance messengers, and the returning expeditionary force was welcomed not by the cheers of the citizens of the Western Capital.

The Western Capital was, until recently, the royal city of Mount Ganzan. Most of its residents were the survivors of Mount Ganzan. While many accepted the rule of Nakayama, they did not join the rebellion. Nevertheless, they could not rejoice at the defeat of their former rulers.

As such, Kagari’s return lacked the glamour of a triumphal entry, and the Nakayama military procession moved solemnly through the main streets of the Western Capital.

However, Kagari himself seemed unfazed, standing proudly atop his steed, a black Kirin, exuding both a bracing spirit and the dignity of a royal prince.

Perhaps due to Kagari’s presence, we – I, Claira, Ursula, and Klimt, along with Ran and Yamato, the surviving siblings of the Ganzan royal family – attracted little attention trailing at the end of the military procession. It seems Nakayama had decided not to treat these two as prisoners, considering the sentiments of the old Ganzan populace.

Of course, to prevent escape or rebellion, there were guards and watchers around, including Kagari’s brother, Dogga, and the elder statesman of Nakayama, Sozai.

Dogga and others grouped the Ganzan siblings with us for ease of surveillance, but also possibly because Ran and Yamato didn’t want to leave Klimt’s side.

The sight of Klimt Berch, being adored by these young Kijin children was quite a spectacle. I couldn’t help but grin, but when I received a sharp glare from him, I shrugged and looked away.

Teasing too much would earn the ire of Claira and the siblings. Klimt had lost an arm in the battle with Utsurui and seemed to struggle during the journey from Mount Taikouzan to the Western Capital.

We had brought Klimt to the Western Capital out of necessity, as staying in the mountains would only worsen his condition and there were no prospects for treatment. Returning to the Mitsurugi family was not an option for various reasons.

Though recovery in the Western Capital was not guaranteed, it was better than remaining at the remote mountain fortress.

—And, fortunately, our decision proved to be beneficial.

Upon entering the royal palace gates with Kagari and others, we were immediately directed to the office of the King of Nakayama.

Waiting for us there were three individuals.

One was the King of Nakayama, Azuma, the master of the office.

Beside Azuma, like a protector, was a fair-faced nobleman, likely Hakuro, Kagari’s immediate elder brother.

Facing these two stood an elderly man dressed in white clerical robes. These were the same type of robes worn by Ouken, whom we had fought previously on Demon Island, signifying he was a member of the Light God Faith. From his dignified presence, it was clear that he was one of the high-ranking members of the faith.

Azuma and the old man faced each other across the desk in the office.

On the desk lay a large wooden box, its lid opened as if to display its contents.

Presumably, the robed elder had presented this to Azuma, but the expressions on Azuma and Hakuro’s faces were stiff, far from pleased.

And no wonder, for what lay inside the wooden box was a human head. It was a neatly cleansed, white-haired head preserved in salt to prevent decay.

I recognized the face. I had only met him once, but his extraordinary sword skills were unforgettable.

Utsurui. He had introduced himself as the head of the Fangxiang clan, a Nanashi-style user, in front of Klimt and the others. It was an unexpected reunion with him.


“The King of Nakayama, Your Majesty. On behalf of the Pope, who cannot leave the main temple, I, the Archbishop, deeply apologize for the foolish actions caused by certain wayward members of our order, which have greatly inconvenienced both Your Majesty and your citizens.”

Saying this, the man who introduced himself as the Archbishop deeply bowed his head.

His prostrating posture seemed filled with genuine remorse, but naturally, or perhaps expectedly, Azuma did not readily nod in agreement.

“So, the wayward members within your order… Are you saying this incident was the result of a few believers’ rampage, unknown to His Holiness? Is that correct, Archbishop?”

“Indeed, Your Majesty. The Fangxiang clan, led by Utsurui, were always hot-blooded and often acted against the Pope’s wishes. Despite this, His Holiness generously protected them. However, upon hearing about their covert support in this rebellion, His Holiness decided he could no longer tolerate their arbitrary actions. Utsurui and all those associated with the Fangxiang clan have been executed by our comrades. I am here on His Holiness’s behalf to seek forgiveness for this mishap, having brought Hakuro-sama from the main temple to your presence.”

The Archbishop continued to elaborate, but ultimately, it seemed nothing more than a scapegoating strategy. At least to me, it was quite transparent.

The claim of having dealt with the rest of the Fangxiang clan, aside from Utsurui, was dubious. Perhaps bringing Hakuro here was to prevent their lies from being exposed by leaving him at the main temple. That’s what I thought.

Of course, I wouldn’t voice such a thing. I understood my role as an unrelated third party in this situation. Besides, frankly, I was curious about how things would unfold.

Did the Light God Faith really think such transparent excuses would be accepted by Nakayama? Probably not. From what Dogga and Kagari had said, there were many Light God Faith followers within Nakayama. The Light God Faith likely judged that Nakayama wouldn’t punish them.

If Nakayama were to send troops against the Light God Faith’s main temple, it would cause a chaos far greater than the rebellion of Mount Ganzan. I wondered how Azuma and his three brothers would handle this situation.

While I was considering these things as if they were someone else’s concern — which they were, in fact — the Archbishop suddenly directed his gaze at me.

“There is also a message from His Holiness for the Mitsurugi family.”


I hadn’t expected the Archbishop to address me in this setting, let alone mention the Mitsurugi family, and I inadvertently let out a sound of confusion.

He continued speaking, unfazed by my reaction.

“I sincerely apologize for the rude behavior of both Utsurui and Shinto — that is His Holiness’s message. Also, His Holiness wishes to personally treat the young man whose right arm was severed by Utsurui. Therefore, I cordially invite you to visit the main temple.”

“Ordinarily, it would be proper for us of the Light God Faith, who have caused this inconvenience, to come and provide treatment. However, only the Pope can perform the ‘Restoration’ miracle.

But the Pope cannot leave the main temple as he must maintain the seal on the serpent. Therefore, knowing it is impolite, we extend this invitation in this manner.”

The Archbishop said this and then, as he had done previously with Azuma, deeply bowed his head toward us.

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