V2 Chapter 138: As the Heir

The great hall of the Mitsurugi residence was enveloped in an unusual buzz of activity.

At the head seat sat Shikibu, the family head, with Dialt Berch, one of the two pillars of the family, beside him. Also present were the four lords – the Minister of War, Minister of Public Works, Minister of Rites, and Minister of Justice, along with the flag generals and vice-generals of the Green Woods Eight Banners, and the top banner warriors from each flag.

All were key figures in both the literary and martial aspects of the Mitsurugi family. The focus of their gaze was Shukuya Kumon, the vice-general of the first banner, who should have been standing beside Dialt, as one of the two pillars.

This sudden gathering was at the request of Shukuya, ordered by Shikibu.

In front of his peers, Shukuya explained why he called the meeting. It began with the previous heir, Sora Mitsurugi, visiting the Southern heaven Fortress and introducing himself as a messenger from the demon god’s kingdom of Nakayama. Sora told Shukuya that the Mitsurugi family must immediately hand over the demon gate to Nakayama, or the kingdom would attack with full force. He urged the Mitsurugi family to consider this carefully.

This was the demand brought by Sora from the Kijin.

Hearing this from Shukuya, the banner warriors were speechless with disbelief. The ridiculousness of the demand left even the most battle-hardened warriors at a loss for words.

Of course, their silence was not out of fear or astonishment, but sheer disbelief at the absurdity. To think that the Mitsurugi family, entrusted by the emperor to guard the demon gate, would hand it over, and to Kijin, no less! Even Dialt slightly raised his eyebrows.

At that moment…

“Ha, haha… hahahahaha!!”

A roaring laughter echoed through the hall, shaking the ears of all present. When people turned in surprise, they saw the Minister of Rites, Gilmore, laughing heartily, uncharacteristically.

Realizing the attention he drew, Gilmore coughed exaggeratedly, apologizing to Shikibu with a bow.

After a moment, he raised his face and slowly began to speak to the surrounding banner warriors.

“This is too much. I couldn’t help but laugh at the sheer foolishness of Lord Sora. But my lords, isn’t this situation laughable? It’s not new for Kijin to covet the demon gate. Nakayama’s demands are insignificant, but understandable. However, for a person of the Mitsurugi main house, no less, to become a lackey of the Kijin and demand that we surrender the demon gate!”

Gilmore looked up dramatically, twisting his lips into a sneer, and glanced at Gozu Seema sitting nearby.

“The word ‘shameless’ was made for Lord Sora. I can’t imagine what kind of upbringing leads to such folly. The responsibility of a mentor is heavy indeed, Minister of War.”


“Not just the mentor. I’ve heard that there are those who want Sora’s return, but to think of welcoming back someone who willingly became a lackey of the Kijin into the Mitsurugi family! Truly, what discerning insight!”

Hearing Gilmore’s mockery, several banner warriors cast down their eyes in frustration. In their gaze, dissatisfaction towards Gilmore and disappointment in Sora were simultaneously evident.

As Gilmore said, among those who viewed the Berch family as a threat, there were those who wanted to bring Sora back to the heir’s position to diminish Gilmore’s power. However, this plan was now burst like a bubble.

No matter how much they disliked the Berch family, none would support Sora, who had allied with the Kijin. For the Green Woods banner warriors, the iron law was to exterminate demons and seal gods.

Since Gilmore’s plot against Klimt and Claira became public, he had been receiving cold stares. Now, he couldn’t help but find humor in the situation, where Sora had aligned with the Kijin, the sworn enemies of the Mitsurugi family.

It was an act of folly beyond words, and even Gilmore was initially struck dumb with amazement.

This foolish act caused Sora’s growing reputation in the family to plummet. It was now certain that Sora would not return as the heir, or even to the Mitsurugi family. Naturally, Ragna’s position would remain unshaken, and the Berch family’s power would continue as before.

But merely maintaining wasn’t enough for Gilmore.

Licking his lips inwardly, Gilmore pondered his next move. Sora had become a lackey of the Kijin. This fact could be exploited further.

For example, if it were said that Sora became a Kijin lackey to use their power to reclaim his position in the Mitsurugi family. And if there were collaborators of Sora within the family…

Goz Seema, Morgan Skyship, and the banner warriors who disliked the Berch family and desired Sora’s return, could all be framed as ‘collaborators with the Kijin.’

Enforcing the crimes of the Green Woods banner warriors was the role of the Minister of Justice, and this minister was a Berch. Crimes could be fabricated as needed.

As Gilmore was about to continue with a glint in his eye, Gozu interjected with a suppressed angry voice.

“Wait! It’s not certain that Lord Sora sincerely followed the Kijin. He might have reluctantly cooperated with them to save Klimt, who disappeared.”

Hearing this, Gilmore almost clicked his tongue but quickly composed his face to look at Gozu.

His face was stuck with a sticky smile.

“Oh, really? So, Minister of War, you’re saying Lord Sora is following the Kijin because he was coerced with hostages? Lord Sora lacks the ability to rescue hostages from the Kijin. He doesn’t have the resolve to cut down the Kijin along with the hostages. He’s a weakling who has no choice but to obey the Kijin because they hold hostages. Is that what you, his mentor, are admitting?”

Gilmore’s question, dripping with sarcasm and mockery, left Gozu tightening his lips in a straight line. Gozu himself knew his defense was far-fetched. No matter how it was spun, justifying Sora’s actions of succumbing to the Kijin was impossible.

Seeing Gozu in such a state, another person spoke up.

“Minister of Rites, aren’t your words a bit excessive? Even if he is a mentor, to hold him responsible for the actions of an adult, especially one who has been away from the island for over five years, seems unreasonable.”

The one who spoke in a calm tone was Simon Gauss, one of the four lords and the Minister of Public Works.

Simon, though average in talent and achievements as a Green Woods banner warrior, was entrusted with the role of Minister of Public Works for a long time due to his impartial and earnest nature, valued by Shikibu, the family head.

Also, Simon maintained a distance from the power struggles within the family, keeping a neutral stance without siding with either the pro-Berch or anti-Berch factions.

Seeing Simon join the debate, Gilmore adjusted his expression.

Simon himself, as well as the Gauss family, were not threats to Gilmore or the Berch family. However, Gilmore couldn’t afford to take Simon lightly.

The reason was that Simon had indicated his intention to retire from the position of Minister of Public Works soon, and Gilmore planned to place a Berch family member as his successor.

While the appointment of the four lords was the exclusive right of the family head, the recommendation of a predecessor held significant influence. Gilmore didn’t want to offend Simon here.

Therefore, Gilmore carefully avoided any sharpness in his voice as he addressed Simon.

“Minister of Public Works, you may disregard my words, but we are discussing a member of the Mitsurugi family succumbing to the Kijin. It’s not unreasonable to question the responsibility of his mentor. Besides, assuming this act was solely Lord Sora’s decision is premature. It’s necessary for the Minister of Justice to investigate if there are others within the family who have conspired with the Kijin.”

“Minister of Rites. Lord Sora is a messenger of the Kijin, and it’s believed that the main force of the Kijin is behind him. We are, in a sense, in the midst of military council. Shouldn’t discussions about the mentor’s responsibility and internal traitors be set for another time?”


Simon’s words didn’t refute Gilmore’s claims but merely postponed them.

While delaying the issue wasn’t Gilmore’s preference, outright rejecting Simon’s suggestion and driving a neutral party into the camps of Gozu or Morgan would be unwise. Besides, Simon’s suggestion had merit. The anti-Berch factions could deal with the Kijin first and then slowly handle other matters.

Not that he read Gilmore’s thoughts, but Zenon Quintos, who had been listening quietly until now, spoke up. His gaze was on Shukuya Kumon.

“Indeed, as the Minister of Public Works says, dealing with the Kijin forces is necessary. However, before that, I’d like to clarify something. Lord Sora – a fool who succumbed to the Kijin while bearing the blood of the Mitsurugi main family – where is he now? Unless Shukuya Lord has already cut him down, if he is alive, he should be punished promptly.”

“It’s a tradition among the warrior class not to harm messengers. The former heir is waiting at the Southern heaven Fortress. What he saw in the realm of the Kijin, what he did, and what he will tell us – all of this is worth listening to.”

Hearing this, Zenon exaggeratedly showed a surprised expression.

“This is surprising. Does Lord Shukuya really say that the words of a madman who demands us to surrender the demon gate to the Kijin are valuable?”

“Yes, exactly that.”

Shukuya coolly brushed off Zenon’s clearly sarcastic remark.

Hearing that, Zenon narrowed his eyes in suspicion.

For Zenon, who had been struggling with the rising regard for Sora and the corresponding decline in Ragna’s esteem within the family, Sora’s recent actions were nothing short of a stroke of luck.

Sora had inadvertently lowered his own standing without any effort from Zenon. Zenon saw this as an opportunity to completely erase Sora’s presence within the family. He believed that this would prevent anyone from advocating Sora’s return or suggesting a change in the heir.

However, when Zenon, hinting at punishment, confirmed Sora’s whereabouts, he was unexpectedly met with words of appraisal from Shukuya.

To Zenon’s knowledge, neither Shukuya personally nor the Kumon family had any ties with Sora. Wondering about this, Zenon continued his speech.

“Lord Shukuya, could you explain your reasoning? Knowing what Lord Sora has done, it’s difficult to agree that his words hold value without any basis. I am not alone in this; others here likely share the sentiment.”

“Yes, of course.”

Shukuya replied and then looked towards Shikibu.

“Lord of the Manor, may I?”


After receiving permission from Shikibu, who had been silently listening to the conversation, Shukuya picked up a sword that was placed beside him.

It was a plain-looking sword with no distinguishing features on the hilt or scabbard. Green Woods banner warriors typically place their swords beside them when sitting on the floor. Until now, no one had paid particular attention to this sword, assuming it was just Shukuya’s sidearm.

But then…

“Excuse me for this.”

As Shukuya drew the sword from its scabbard, a murmur of admiration filled the great hall.

The steel of the sword had a deep, verdant hue and a mirror-like luster. The intricate blade pattern was eerily beautiful, yet the thick blade conveyed a rugged strength.

This was no ornamental weapon; it was a battle-ready sword, forged for real combat. Its extreme design seemed to imbue the sword itself with a dominating presence.

Even those who were not swordsmen would be captivated by this sword, and swordsmen would be irresistibly drawn to it.

Zenon was no exception, staring intently at the sword in Shukuya’s hands. Such a magnificent blade was rare to encounter. Comparable swords were few and far between, and as Zenon realized this, he blinked in sudden recognition.

“That is… Lord’s Sasayuki…?” Zenon uttered, referring to Shikibu’s sidearm, a treasured heirloom passed down through generations of the Mitsurugi family.

Naturally, his gaze turned to Shikibu, beside whom Sasayuki was placed. Therefore, the sword Shukuya held couldn’t be Sasayuki.

So what was this sword, identical to the Mitsurugi family heirloom?

Shukuya then spoke to Zenon and all the banner warriors present, revealing the name of the sword.

“This sword is named Sasanotsuyu. It was one of the two treasured swords passed down in the Mitsurugi family, along with Sasayuki.”

“I’ve never heard of such a sword… Did it come down through your Kumon family, Lord Shukuya?”

“Exactly. According to Kumon family records, Sasanotsuyu was lost in a battle three hundred years ago. However, Lord Sora found this sword in the deepest parts of the Kijin realm. He learned the truth about what happened three hundred years ago and decided to cooperate with the Kijin, as he told me.”

Hearing this, Zenon murmured “The truth?” in a bewildered tone.

He looked at Shukuya with the same expression.

“It sounds like nonsense to me, but you believe him, Lord Shukuya?”


“Even though these are the words of someone who succumbed to the Kijin?”

When Zenon asked, Shukuya nodded with a slightly troubled but firm expression.

Of course, Shukuya wasn’t naive enough to believe Sora’s words without evidence. Had Sora only brought Sasanotsuyu, there might have been room for doubt.

But Sora mentioned the name of Mitsurugi Jin, the sword wielder of Sasanotsuyu who vanished from Mitsurugi history. This was a name Shukuya first heard when he became the head of the Kumon family, listening to the first head’s testament. How and where Sora learned of Jin was unknown, but he was certainly not making idle talk. Shukuya was convinced of this.

Shukuya then clearly stated his thoughts to Shikibu.

“My Lord, to ascertain what the former heir learned in the Kijin realm and why he sided with them, I believe we should bring him here. If he speaks only foolish nonsense, I shall take responsibility and cut him down myself.”

Gilmore and Zenon were about to say something, but Shikibu’s response was quicker and surprisingly straightforward.

“Very well, Shukuya. Bring Sora here.”

“Thank you. I will bring the former heir immediately.”

As Shukuya stood up to leave, Gilmore and Zenon, albeit reluctantly, closed their mouths. Once the family head had made a decision, it was not their place as subjects to argue.

The other banner warriors also remained silent. Therefore, the voice that rang out in the great hall was heard by all present without interruption.

“My Lord—no, allow me to call you father.”

The one who stepped forward from the ranks of the third banner was Ragna, the heir of the Mitsurugi family.

In the Mitsurugi family assembly, only the four lords and the leaders of the Eight Banners, other than the family head, had the right to speak. Even as the heir, Ragna had no right to speak.

Zenon and Lucius tried to stop him, but Ragna, with a fierce gaze, ignored their attempts to restrain him and stepped forward to face Shikibu.

“Father, please allow me to welcome the messenger of the Kijin. As the heir of the Mitsurugi family, I promise to perform my duties without fail.”

Ragna’s fiery gaze was fixed on his father. It was clear that his intense emotions stemmed from his feelings towards his brother, and most banner warriors envisioned Ragna being reprimanded by his father for his impudence and stepping down.

However, their speculation was wrong. Shikibu didn’t order Ragna to step down but instead questioned him as if to confirm his resolve.

“As the heir of the Mitsurugi family—your words hold no falsehood, do they, Ragna?”

“Yes! Certainly, they do not!”

“Very well. Then I command you in place of Shukuya. Bring Sora here with the etiquette befitting the heir.”

Hearing the dispassionate words of Shikibu, Ragna’s face lit up with vigor, believing his father understood his intentions.

“Understood! I will certainly meet your expectations.”

Ragna bowed and quickly left the great hall, seemingly eager to act without further interruption.

“My Lord”

“We too…”

Then, almost simultaneously, Zenon and Lucius raised their voices, requesting to accompany Ragna. Shikibu readily agreed.

Watching the flag general and vice-general of the third banner leave the great hall, Shukuya, with a puzzled look on his face, asked Shikibu.

“My Lord, is this alright?”

“It is of no concern.”

Shikibu responded without any visible emotion on his face.

However, Shukuya, who had served Shikibu closely for many years, distinctly felt that the lord was in an unusually good mood.

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