V2 Chapter 162: The Challenge

At the outset, I, not minding the positions of the flag bearers, doused their heads with cold water, and then turned around the grand hall, waiting for their reactions.

I counted about ten or so seconds, but no voices of condemnation rose against my actions. Those who had not bowed to me earlier, or even those who had bowed but showed resentment, remained silent.

Most of them were breathing heavily through their shoulders, looking down to avoid making eye contact with me. A few did make eye contact, but they quickly looked away as soon as our gazes met. Either they were frightened by my forceful presence, or they judged that showing further dissatisfaction could endanger their lives.

While contemplating these things, I raised my voice loud enough for all the assembled flag bearers to hear.

“Let me say this first. Like my predecessor, I will cede the position of the head of the Mitsurugi family to anyone who can defeat me. Those who do not accept me as their leader are welcome to challenge me anytime.”

Of course, I don’t mean to say it should be one-on-one. It doesn’t matter if it’s by a group or even dozens.

Having stated that, I continued.

“Those who do not recognize me as the head, and yet do not have the strength to overthrow me, should forfeit their qualification as Green Woods flag bearers and leave the island. I will personally crush their fists and make sure they can never wield a sword again.”

By declaring that I would personally perform the sealing ceremony, I surveyed the grand hall with a stern gaze. With these words, everyone should understand that my actions were not driven out of a mere desire for support as their leader.

Seeing the flag bearers fall silent, I nodded internally, satisfied, and continued the discussion.

“There is only one thing I command as the head of the Mitsurugi family. I will now relocate the Kijin tribe from the Demon Gate to the Kingdom of Canaria. Do not interfere.”

The moment I announced this, the atmosphere in the grand hall, previously filled with awe, changed dramatically.

My plan to relocate the Kijin tribe to the continent would undoubtedly be unacceptable to the Green Woods flag bearers, who uphold the laws of eradicating demons and sealing gods.

The shock and hostility of the flag bearers pierced me with sharp glances. No shouts arose, likely because of the impact of my previous declaration, but if even one person raised their voice, others would undoubtedly follow.

To preempt the flag bearers, I declared in a cool voice.

“While I am occupied with the relocation, the internal affairs will be entrusted to the four ministers, and the military operations to the eight banners. Once the relocation of the Kijin tribe is complete, I will cede the position of head of the Mitsurugi family to my successor and leave. With this in mind, you can choose to follow me, oppose me, or leave—choose the path you prefer.”

This was something I had planned in advance.

I would be traveling across the continent for the relocation of the Kijin tribe. My time on Demon Island would be very brief, and I wouldn’t have the leisure to establish a new regime within the Mitsurugi family.

Moreover, there was no need to establish one. Once the relocation was completed, I would hand over the leadership to Ragna anyway. Personnel matters could continue as before. It was enough to threaten them not to interfere with my plans.

If there is a problem, it lies with the potential effects on this side due to the collapse of the Demon Realm.

The collapse of the Demon Realm and its impact on this side are mere speculation. The only basis for this is the words left behind by Sophia, and there is no concrete evidence.

However, it would be irresponsible to ignore the possibility that Shuuto could disappear depending on the circumstances.

Therefore, I decided to share with the flag bearers what I had experienced in the Demon Realm. I talked not only about the possibility of its collapse but also about the dragons, Pope Sophia, the Church of Light, the Fangxiang clan, and what Mitsurugi Kazuma did three hundred years ago.

However, the last item had already been mentioned by me as of yesterday.

“Three hundred years ago, the descendants of Mitsurugi Kazuma, who falsely claimed the title of savior by stealing the achievements of the Kijin tribe who had slain a dragon, do you acknowledge the founder’s wrongdoing and intend to hand over the Demon Gate?”

Some of the flag bearers, having heard my words when I confronted my father, might have guessed this.

But whether they had guessed or not, what I spoke of was absurd and implausible to the people of the Mitsurugi family.

Even if I call it the truth about three hundred years ago, there is no solid proof. I myself judge it to be true based on my confrontation with Sophia and the memories of the Soul Eater, but it is impossible to make the flag bearers believe this.

That the founder’s achievements were the product of conspiracy, and that the laws of demon eradication and gods sealing were merely schemes to cover up sins—such things could never be accepted by the flag bearers. It would mean denying their own existence and, by extension, the three-hundred-year history of the Mitsurugi family.

Indeed, in the grand hall, hostility and distrust towards me swirled and grew larger with every second. Within a few more seconds, the emotions of the flag bearers would surge forth like a tsunami towards me.

It was not I who put a lid on this simmering cauldron of intense emotions. It was Shukuya Kumon, the deputy commander of the First Banner, with his dull-colored hair and dark skin.

“Lord Sora, may I ask one, no, two questions?”

Shukuya’s voice was calm, but this did not imply weakness. His voice, firm with an unbreakable core, held back the flag bearers’ fierce emotions and straightened our spines.

I responded briefly.


“The story you just told would overturn the entire history of the Mitsurugi family. With all due respect, I cannot simply take it at face value. Therefore, my question is, do you have any evidence to support what you have just said?”

“Nothing at all.”

Hearing my answer, Shukuya let out a small sigh.

Then, fixing me with a sharp gaze, he continued speaking.

“Then we cannot be convinced either. The Kijin tribe concocted a false history to hide their sins and demean us as contemptible traitors—that is the only conclusion we can draw. The so-called Church of Light likely collaborated with them to maintain its status in the Demon Realm.”

As Shukuya spoke, several flag bearers voiced their agreement, saying, “That’s right,” “Exactly.”

At the same time I glared sharply in their direction, Shukuya gently raised his hand to calm the other flag bearers.

“Quiet—my apologies, Lord Sora. However, please understand the resentment of everyone here. For three hundred years since the founder, the Mitsurugi family has upheld the laws of demon eradication and god sealing and worked tirelessly for the peace of the continent. We, the Green Woods flag bearers, hold an irreplaceable pride and confidence in this fact.”

Therefore, when that pride is trampled upon without evidence, it is impossible to contain our anger and frustration, Shukuya explained.

I did not deny his words. There was no need to. As previously mentioned, I knew from the start that it was impossible for the flag bearers to accept the truths of the past.

I also have no intention of enlightening the flag bearers. As I have already mentioned, I currently do not have the time to waste on such futile efforts.

There is only one thing I expect from the flag bearers, and I have already communicated this to everyone present here.

I responded dispassionately to Shukuya’s words.

“I understand what you want to say. However, I do not care about your anger, frustration, confidence, or pride. Didn’t I say not to hinder me? That is all I command you as your leader. You don’t need to believe my words, nor do you need to cooperate with the relocation.”

As long as they don’t hinder me, it doesn’t matter what the flag bearers think or believe. If they cannot follow me under these terms, they are free to fight against me or leave the island as they please.

Everything has been said in advance.

This approach won’t resolve the discord between the Kijin and humans, but I have resigned myself to that reality. Untangling the hatred and grudges that have solidified between the two races over three hundred years is too burdensome for me.

If it’s a matter of relocation, I can push it forward by force if necessary. However, hatred and grudge are matters of the heart, not something that can be resolved by force. At least, it’s not something that can be tackled simultaneously with relocation.

After hearing my response, Shukuya closed his eyes as if pondering something. But it was only for a moment. Opening his eyes, he looked directly at me and said,

“…Lord Sora, did you side with the Kijin as a way to atone for the sins of your ancestors, being a descendant of the founder?”

“Unfortunately, I’m not that earnest. I owe them a debt of gratitude. Right now, I’m merely repaying that favor.”

Hearing this, Shukuya quietly bowed his head in understanding.

Then, he continued solemnly,

“Thank you for answering my questions. Having heard your words, I have made up my mind. I, Shukuya Kumon, deputy commander of the First Banner, hereby challenge you, Lord Sora.”

Liked it? Take a second to support WordyCrown on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!