V2 Chapter 78: The Four Brothers of Nakayama (Part One)

This happened a little before Sora, Claira, and Ursula entered the Demon Gate.

The vast desert that spread inside the Demon Gate was called the Kikai by the Kijin tribe who lived in this land.

The Kikai was vast, but most of it was a barren wasteland, and the area where the Kijin could live was very limited.

The history of the Kijin tribe is, in other words, a history of the struggle for this limited land.

Invaded and being invaded, stealing and being stolen, killing and being killed. Such a bloody period of turmoil continued for many decades.

In the midst of all this, a kingdom began to rapidly expand its power.

The name of this country was Nakayama. The name of the ruling king was Azuma.

Originally, Nakayama was one of the powers known as the Five Mountains, but it was reduced to a small kingdom after facing annihilation in the chaos of war, and when Azuma inherited the country, it had been reduced to an ordinary small nation.

No, even calling it a small country would have been an overstatement for Nakayama at that time. The previous king had been killed, the territory had been taken, and the national treasury was empty. All that was left to the young Azuma, who was not yet twenty years old, were a handful of retainers and his three young brothers.

They had no land to rule and wandered about, searching for food every day. This small group, which was too small to even be called a country, was certainly not expected to soar like a phoenix over the Kikai. Perhaps even Azuma himself had not expected this.

However, Azuma did it.

Sometimes using military force, sometimes using strategy, sometimes using diplomacy. Azuma, who brought various neighboring powers under his control, formed a large force by skillfully assembling a variety of subordinates, and brought prosperity to Nakayama that surpassed the old times.

Azuma, who had rebuilt Nakayama with his excellent abilities, started a war with Kazan, the sworn enemy who had once destroyed Nakayama.

The battle with Kazan, which had become the largest force in the Kikai, was fierce, and Nakayama was pushed back more than once, but ultimately, Nakayama won the final decisive battle held in the suburbs of Kazan’s capital city, Seito, achieving the unification of the Kikai.

Now, the name of Azuma, the king of Nakayama, was resounding throughout the Kikai.

And as famous as Azuma, or even more so, were his three brothers who supported Azuma’s rise to power.

The eldest brother, Doga. The second brother, Hakuro. The third brother, Kagari.

Once young, these three brothers joined the front lines as they grew older, quickly stood out, and overwhelmed the many warriors present. They became strong pillars that supported their brother and Nakayama.

Having unified the Demon Realm, Nakayama now sets his sights on “The Gate” protected by the detestable traitors. It’s a place where countless Kijin have challenged in the past, yet no one could overcome its seal.

Now, many Kijin are hopeful. If it was the four brothers who guided the once weak Nakayama to the ruler of the Demon Realm, could they not liberate them from this barren, corrupt world? Could they not put an end to the three hundred year era of purgatory?

This anticipation lifted the spirits of the entire Kijin tribe, and Nakayama was enveloped in an unprecedented hustle and bustle.

――However, not every Kijin supported Nakayama without exception.

Nakayama had eliminated many enemies and shed a lot of blood during the unification process. It was natural for there to be those who resented and hated Nakayama.

Especially among the Kijin who were part of Mount Ganzan, there were quite a few who were dissatisfied with Nakayama, the conqueror.

Azuma tried to annex Mount Ganzan with as little bloodshed as possible, and many were impressed by his methods and pledged allegiance. However, conquest is still conquest, and it was impossible to completely suppress discontent and rebellion.

They saw Nakayama’s military deployment to “The Gate” as an opportunity and began to act secretly.

Using the orphan of the slain Mount Ganzan King Gien from the previous battle as their flag…

Seito, the western capital.

The Demon Realm’s largest city, where Mount Ganzan used to have its capital, still holds its position even after the lord has changed to Nakayama, and its streets are bustling with people and goods.

In that crowd, two Kijin were walking.

One was a boy with a visibly agile body, and the other was a man with a body so grand it made one look up.

As the two headed towards the Royal Palace where King Azuma conducted his government affairs, the boy began to speak.

“Hey, Brother Doga. What do you think is the reason Brother Azuma called us back from the front line?”

The ash-gray, unkempt-haired boy, Kagari, the youngest of the Nakayama brothers, asked his elder brother, Doga, walking beside him.

To this, Doga, while scratching his thick neck, replied,

“Well, not sure. It would have been something significant if they called both of us back at the same time, but…”

As he spoke, Doga surveyed the surroundings. The cityscape of Seito looked just as prosperous as when the two had gone off to war, if not more. He didn’t feel any hint of disorder.

Kagari nodded in response to Doga’s observation.

“Exactly. The guards seem pretty laid-back.”

Kagari found this puzzling.

Right now, they are leading an expeditionary force to conquer the “Gate”. Doga is the general in charge, and Kagari is his deputy.

On this occasion, Azuma had summoned both the general and his deputy, and it was only natural to assume that something significant had happened.

Kagari kept pondering this for a while, but Doga, unconcerned about the issue, quickly switched his thinking.

The two brothers, both lost in thought, wouldn’t find answers this way.

The strongest warrior in Nakayama, with shoulders like boulders, clumsily shrugged and prompted his younger brother.

“Guys like us, brooding here, won’t get us anywhere. Let’s head to the royal palace and hear it straight from our brother.”

“Right. That’s probably the quickest way… By the way, aren’t you hungry, Brother Doga?”

With a sudden change of expression, Kagari, with a calm face, asked.

Perhaps this had been the main topic from the start.

“It’s been a while since we’ve been in the western capital. I’d like to grab a bite before we go…”

Doga gave a wry smile when he saw his brother’s upward glance and inquiry.

“You’re still more interested in eating than anything else. We can’t settle down for a meal while our brother is waiting, but we can snack on some skewers from a stall along the way.”

After saying this, Doga chuckled.

“To be honest, I’m tired of the tasteless camp food too.”

“Oh, as expected, Brother Doga knows what to say! If it was our eldest brother, Hakuro, he’d be saying something like, ‘Oh, am I hearing things? Yes, I must be. There’s no way my beloved younger brother would be so rude as to want to eat while our eldest brother is waiting… By the way, Kagari, did you say something?’ He’s bound to be annoying like that!”

“Ha, Hakuro would indeed say something like that.”

While having such a conversation, the two walked through the streets of the western capital.

When they finally arrived at the royal palace, the gatekeeper, surprised to see the general and deputy general of the expeditionary force appear without any attendants, failed to notice the sauce at the corner of the deputy’s mouth.

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