V2 Chapter 161: Disrespect

Leaving Ursula and the others behind, I exited the tent and headed straight for the tent of King Azuma of Nakayama.

On my way, I bumped into Kagari. This was not a coincidence; Kagari had come to summon me on his brother’s command.

It wasn’t just Ursula and Claira who wanted to hear the details from me.

Inside King Azuma’s tent, alongside Azuma, Dogga, and Hakuro were also present. I ended up explaining the relocation plan to the four brothers, who were seated in a cartwheel formation.

After hearing everything from me, Azuma crossed his arms and opened his mouth with a serious expression.

“Titis Forest, huh? To hear of such a place at a time like this. Could this also be the guidance of the great Chiyou?”

“Huh? You know of Titis Forest?”

“I do. Of course, I haven’t seen it with my own eyes. It’s mentioned in the legends passed down among the Kijin.”

Surprised, I asked, and Azuma quietly nodded, then told me about the legend.

Three hundred years ago, the strongest among the warriors of the Phantom Burial, the clan of the godless. Titis Forest was said to be the homeland of this godless clan.

Atori, who led the warriors to challenge the serpent, also hailed from the godless clan, and because of that, the name of Titis Forest is still passed down among the Kijin.

Hearing this, I remembered the name of the godless from the memories of the Soul Eater, and that Suzume called her hometown Kamuna Village.1

There were too many other things to consider, so I hadn’t paid much attention before, but Suzume was from the same clan as the hero who sealed the serpent three hundred years ago.

My meeting with Suzume in Titis Forest, given that I share the blood of the Mitsurugi family, seems like a mysterious fate. It’s as if, in Azuma’s words, we were led by something greater.

Speaking of which, the red-eyed person in Suzume’s concerned dream might have been the ancestor Atori—though, perhaps that thought is too convenient?

While I was pondering this, Azuma nodded decisively as if he had made up his mind.

“I think I will accept Lord Sora’s proposal for relocation. What do the three of you think?”

When Azuma looked at his brothers, Dogga was the first to speak.

“If that is the decision my elder brother has made, then as his loyal subject, I shall follow. However, this matter greatly influences the future of Nakayama. We should not be fixated on a single plan but prepare second and third contingencies,” said the speaker.

“I agree with my second elder brother as well. From what I’ve heard, relocating to the Titis Forest involves many forces. It’s unlikely that all these forces will align to permit our passage. We should also progress with alternative strategies alongside the relocation plan,” added another.

Hakuro expressed his agreement with Douga’s opinion.

Azuma nodded in response to his younger brothers’ words and then turned his gaze to Kagari, the youngest of the Nakayama royal family.

Kagari spoke in a light tone, “I think betting everything on Sora’s plan is fine. Azuma’s wish is for harmony with humans. Apart from Sora’s plan, I can’t see any other way that could work well between us and the humans.”

Douga looked at Kagari with a troubled expression and asked in a heavy voice, “But, Kagari, have you considered what we should do if we fail? Saying we messed up the relocation and have no alternative plan is not an option.”

“If we fail, then, as Sora suggests, we should push through to Titis Forest by force, Big Brother Douga. Showing our strength this way, none will dare to underestimate Nakayama. Even the human kings will have no choice but to listen to us,” Kagari replied.

If humans still sought to exclude the Kijin, then they could consider harmony impossible and resort to force.

Hearing this, Douga exchanged glances with Hakuro and smirked with a strong smile, “I see. Indeed, joining Sora in Titis would be best left to you. Given the situation, sending a vassal remains uncertain. One of us brothers must go, but our eldest, being the king, is out of the question. Hakuro and I are too biased against humans. To view the outside world with an unclouded perspective, Kagari, your youth is needed.”

“Is that really okay with you, Hakuro?” Kagari asked.

“Yes. I would have opposed if you were going merely for sightseeing, but listening to you now, it seems you’ve given proper thought to our future. Would our eldest brother agree?”

“Indeed. Kagari might be more adaptable for Sora. Take good care of our brother.”

Thus, the discussion among the four brothers proceeded smoothly. This was not unique to this occasion; their discussions always progressed well, a fact for which to be thankful.

Their mutual interests aligned, but also, their values were similar. It was ironic that being born into the Mitsurugi family, my values were closer to those of the Kijin.

Yet, the situation was not without its problems.

Douga was particularly concerned about the Kijin’s status after relocation. If I became the lord of Titis and welcomed the Kijin as immigrants, Azuma would be under me. This meant that he, and consequently, Douga, would have to lower their heads not only to me but also to the King of Canaria and other high nobles, an unbearable thought for Douga.

This was a concern for after the successful relocation, so Douga only mentioned his worries, but indeed, being forced to submit to humans would not sit well with the Kijin. It was necessary to think of ways to ensure the Kijin’s independence could be maintained.

My plan was to officially become the lord of Titis, governing it while delegating all my lordly powers to Azuma for the internal governance of the territory. Eventually, we would seek autonomy from the Canaria Kingdom and establish Titis Forest as a semi-independent duchy. If possible, we would then seek independence from Canaria to form a new nation.

At that point, if I were to transfer my position to Azuma, the Duchy of Nakayama or even the Kingdom of Nakayama could be established in Titis Forest. Afterward, I would act as Nakayama’s diplomat, negotiating with external forces including the Canaria Kingdom, to ensure that Kijin and humans would not become enemies.

That was my rough plan.

…Well, it’s not like the Canaria Kingdom would easily grant autonomy or independence, but frankly, combining the strength of me and the Kijin, the Canaria military would not be a concern. It wouldn’t be difficult to get our demands accepted by the King of Canaria.

However, should we forcefully declare independence through a display of our military power, we risk making enemies of the Dragnaut Duke’s family, to whom I owe a great debt. Therefore, I intended to proceed with the matter patiently and through peaceful negotiations.

Regarding the Mitsurugi family, once the Kijin’s relocation was complete, I planned to pass the leadership to Ragna and say my farewells.

In any case, I had no intention of treating Azuma as a mere vassal. I made sure to clarify this point to Douga.

After aligning our thoughts in such a manner, Kagari and I left the tent. We then waited for Claira to wake up before heading to the Southern Hevan Fortress.

I had anticipated that depending on the conclusion reached by the Mitsurugi family, we might be suddenly attacked. However, what awaited us at the fortress was a solemn yet polite greeting.

“We have been awaiting your arrival, Lord Sora—no, Lord of the Manor,”

Said Gozu Sheema, who knelt down and deeply bowed his head, once my mentor.

Previously, I might have reflexively scowled at him, but now, I felt neither positive nor negative emotions towards Gozu. If anything, I was cautious that he might try to attack me to avenge my father.

However, from his attitude, it seemed he had no such intention.

I heard that my father, who had gone missing for a while after our battle, had already been found. Although he had been unconscious for some time, he regained consciousness this morning and once again affirmed his decision to appoint me as his successor to the banner knights.

There were banner knights who argued that there was no need for a change of leadership since my father was still alive, but he rejected this view, stating, “A person who has lost the Anima is not fit to lead the Mitsurugi family.”

According to Gozu, this statement has eliminated any overt opposition to my assumption of leadership.

The moment I appeared in the great hall, all the green wood banner knights gathered there turned their gaze towards me simultaneously.

Among the knights standing to my left and right, the ratio of those who bowed their heads to those who did not was about half and half. Even among those who bowed, many glared at me with thorny looks.

They were not bowing to “Mitsurugi Sora” but merely to “the person designated as the successor by Mitsurigi Shikibu.” Their attitude seemed to leak their inner thoughts: don’t think you’ll be easily accepted.

Despite understanding the difference in our strengths, I wondered what those showing hostility towards me were thinking.

They probably thought as follows:

Even though I defeated my father and was named the successor, I couldn’t govern the Mitsurugi family alone. The governance of the territory required the strength of subordinates, especially the power of the top banner knights.

Thus, Mitsurugi Sora would have to make concessions to them, the top banner knights, and a bit of rudeness on their part wouldn’t lead to blame—those knights who didn’t bow or even those who did but still glared likely thought this way.

At their core, there was disdain for me that hadn’t changed in five years. They believed that someone like me could never disregard them, the top banner knights.

More so, they probably needed to believe this to maintain their self-esteem.

The reality that someone like me, who had failed the trial of the ceremony and defeated the Sword Saint to stand above them, was too much for some of the knights to accept.

I narrowed my eyes and stared down the line of knights.

I wasn’t seeking the loyalty of my subordinates, so I had no intention of blaming them for whatever they thought internally.

However, it wasn’t good for them to openly show their contempt for me. Leaving such people unaddressed would undermine my dignity as their leader and, by extension, could hinder the Titis relocation plan—though that was the official stance, my real feelings were simpler.

I had no intention of allowing the people of the Mitsurugi family to look down upon me ever again.

It’s fine to hate, to hold grudges, even to come at me with the intent to kill.

But under no circumstances will I allow myself to be underestimated. No matter the reason.

With a flash in my eyes, I released my Kei with the intention of slaughtering all the banner knights present at full force.

Although I didn’t draw my soul equipment, the pressure of my Kei, having defeated my father and consumed the Light God Baldr, was something no Mythical Creature could match even in numbers.

Caught off guard by this sudden onslaught, cries of shocked astonishment escaped the mouths of the knights.

As if being pulled down by an invisible force, one after another, the banner knights bent forward, placing their hands on the tatami. Some even collapsed onto the tatami.

I casually walked past such individuals towards the seat of honor, with Claira and Ursula following behind me without much surprise, as if they had anticipated this. Kagari, with a cloth wrapped around his head, was also behind me, but the knights seemed too overwhelmed to question his identity.

Indeed, the flag officers and deputy officers weren’t bowing to the floor, but many contorted their faces in discomfort. Only a select few managed to face my Kei without changing their expression.

Even those few, despite maintaining their composure, had beads of sweat forming on their foreheads.

I casually took my seat in the chair that my father always used, the leader’s seat, and then stopped releasing my Kei.

Then, addressing the banner knights who were gasping for air, I declared with an air of arrogance:

“Those who are disturbed by this level of Kei should have quietly bowed their heads from the start. It’s bothersome to reprimand every act of rudeness.”

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  1. Kamuna” and “godless” (“神無し” or Kamunashi) is a play on words or a derived term, where “Kamuna” phonetically resembles Kamunashi