V2 Chapter 80: The Four Brothers of Nakayama (Part 3)

Some of the Mount Ganzan soldiers who had surrendered to Nakayama raised the banner of rebellion, with the orphaned child of the deceased King Gien as their figurehead.

Upon hearing this news from Hakuro, Doga cocked his head in surprise.

“You said ‘orphaned child’ just now? The male children of King Gien should have all died in the previous battle.”

Doga himself had slain Mount Ganzan’s crown prince, King Gien’s eldest son, and his second son, known as a brave warrior, on the battlefield. Though referred to as male children, they were all at least a decade older than Doga, warriors in their own right. But that aside, all the men of the Ganzan royal family were supposed to have met their end on the battlefield at the hands of Nakayama’s forces.

To Doga’s question, Hakuro slowly shook his head.

“I thought the same as my second brother, but there was one who survived. An eight-year-old boy named Yamato, who was too young to participate in the battle. He fled from the city with his sister just before our forces seized the capital of the West.”

He added, “The sister’s name is Ran.”

Yamato’s mother was of low status, and he was not granted succession rights to the throne, so he had slipped through Hakuro’s intelligence network.

Perhaps Gien had avoided bestowing succession rights on the young child to prevent disputes among his children. As previously mentioned, Gien had several grown sons, and the possibility of young Yamato succeeding the throne was almost zero. It would not be surprising if Gien had thought there was no need to give him the rights.

However, with the fall of all the male children of the Ganzan royal family in the previous battle, the situation changed completely. Now, Yamato was the only male child bearing the legitimate blood of the Ganzan royal family.

“The remnants of Mount Ganzan, dissatisfied with Nakayama, are gathering around that child. The place is Taikouzan.”


The voices of surprise from both Doga and Kagari were simultaneous.

Taikouzan is the name of a remote mountain far from the western capital, known for its many ferocious magical creatures. The terrain is rugged, and the surrounding area constantly emits noxious miasma from the rotten land, making it utterly uninhabitable. Naturally, there were no nearby towns or villages.

Their astonishment at why the soldiers would rise in such a remote and isolated place was certainly justified.

As for why Doga and his companions knew the name of such a distant mountain, it was because Taikouzan was a famous ancient battlefield.

Once, a fierce battle was fought on Taikouzan between the Kijin and humans — the gatekeepers.

While the gatekeepers generally stay at their posts, they have been known to invade the interior of the demon realm when the Kijin tribe seeks unification and liberation from the demon realm. Such a battle occurred fifty years ago, and Taikouzan was the site of that conflict.

One of the reasons Nakayama, having annexed Mount Ganzan, immediately undertook the assault on the gate was to preemptively suppress the invasion of the gatekeepers who had sensed Nakayama’s unification of the demon realm.

――Could the remnants of Mount Ganzan have risen up in this land, inspired by tales of old?

Doga considered this, but quickly dismissed the notion. The Battle of Taikouzan was a crushing defeat for the Kijin, and if one were to draw fortunes, it was certain to be an ominous one. It’s a place teeming with magical creatures where people cannot live, it’s far from the western capital, and to top it all, it’s an unlucky place. There is nothing worse than this as a place to rally troops.

If there was to be any advantage, it would be that it’s so remote that it’s not worth the Nakayama side sending troops.

The enemy, seizing the opportunity when the main forces of the Nakayama army are out, has courageously risen in rebellion, aiming to reclaim the western capital――That’s what Doga, who had been considering this, scratched his chin with his right hand, feeling a bit let down.

“That doesn’t even deserve to be called a rebellion. They can’t submit to us, and they can’t find a way to revive Mount Ganzan either. It seems to me they’ve just given up. Wouldn’t they just wither on their own if left alone?”

“I understand what you’re trying to say, my second brother. However, we must go out of the gate from now on. We should eliminate as many enemies from our flanks as possible. There are instances where a small snake turns into a dragon.”


At Hakuro’s words, Doga growled.

Once, the King of Mount Ganzan, Gien, killed the father of the four brothers and destroyed Nakayama once. However, afterward, he underestimated the remaining brothers and ended up seeing the tragic end of his ruin.

Hakuro is asserting that they will not repeat the same mistake. And Doga correctly understood his younger brother’s argument.

“I see, even a child should not be spared, right? However――”

Doga cut off his words and looked at Kagari.

As mentioned earlier, the Central Mountain Army had killed all the male children of the Mount Ganzan royal family except for Yamato, but that was only on the battlefield. After the battle, they did not spill a drop of the Mount Ganzan royal family’s blood.

Gien’s wives, concubines, and daughters are still being carefully protected in a corner of the royal palace. This was due to Azuma’s generous nature, but at the same time, it was largely due to Kagari’s plea. Against those who argued that the bloodline of the Mount Ganzan royal family should be extinguished, Kagari pleaded for their lives, even if it meant trading his military achievements.

Kagari has no gratitude for the Mount Ganzan royal family, only resentment. Still, the reason he pleaded for their lives was to adhere to the words he himself had uttered when he defeated Gien: “We do not harm those who have surrendered. That is the military rule of Nakayama.”

In that sense, there would be no problem at all if they defeated Yamato and Ran, who refused to surrender and ran away――But the image of the Mount Ganzan king, who had broken his own horns upon realizing his defeat, resurfaced in Kagari’s mind.

To kill those children of that king, children who are barely of age, just because they might become a problem in the future, doesn’t sit well with Kagari.

He thought, wouldn’t it be okay to let them live? If the grown-up Yamato and the others rebel, then crush them again at that time. If Nakayama is destroyed by that, then it’s just the fate of Nakayama.

That was Kagari’s true feelings, but on the other hand, he was also aware that his thoughts were extremely irresponsible as a royal brother supporting Nakayama.

Kagari steeled himself and opened his mouth.

“I’ll go to Taikouzan Mountain, brother Hakuro.”

“I thought you’d say that. But let me warn you, we cannot show mercy this time like we did in the previous battle. The first time was to show the generosity of Nakayama, but a second mercy will only be seen as contempt.”

If a rumor spreads that you can start a rebellion in Nakayama and be forgiven, the fights against the gatekeepers will become the least of our concerns.

Nakayama is generous, but not unlimitedly so. Those who take advantage of our generosity will be crushed by the powerful Nakayama army. To make this known throughout the demon world, we have to thoroughly suppress this rebellion. Even if our opponents are insignificant, like an eight-year-old child.

In a way, the Hakuyama army of Taikouzan Mountain couldn’t have rebelled at a better time.

Nakayama is about to embark on a full-scale conquest of the gates. Not only Doga and Kagari, but Hakuro and Azuma will also probably have to leave the capital city.

There will surely be those who serve Nakayama in appearance but wait for an opportunity to betray us. The people of Taikouzan Mountain should have served as a perfect example to deter such people.

Understanding his brother’s intentions, Kagari nodded with a stern expression.

And to loosen up his tense little brother, the third son of Nakayama continued with a serene face.

“Yes, thoroughly. Crush the rebels, dye the royal banner of Hakuyama in mud, and burn the ringleaders to the bone. Do it so thoroughly that no remains are left.”

“…So thoroughly that no remains are left? Don’t you need the enemy’s heads, brother Hakuro?”

“No need. It’s a waste of time to display them one by one. Besides, if we display the heads of eight-year-old children and women, there will surely be voices blaming Nakayama for unnecessary cruelty.”

When brother said that we must be aware of moderation in all things, Doga, who had been silent until now, slapped his knee loudly.

“Ah, I’m sure of it now, Hakuro. You’re sending Kagari and me away from the capital city to face the gatekeepers, in order to flush out the old vassals of Hakuyama who are dissatisfied, aren’t you?”

Doga and Kagari are the leading warriors of Nakayama, each worth a thousand men. They are headed for a battle against the gatekeepers. Even if a disturbance occurs in the rear, they won’t be able to return immediately.

For those who have a grievance, this must seem like the perfect opportunity to overthrow Nakayama by killing Azuma. Moreover, there might even be someone who is instigating the dissatisfied to rise.

At Doga’s question, Hakuro smiled mischievously.

“You’re as insightful as ever, second brother.”

Looking at his younger brother, who calmly responded, Doga scratched his head vigorously.

“So you used elder brother as a decoy. Of course, this wasn’t solely Hakuro’s decision, was it, elder brother?”

As he turned his questioning gaze to his elder brother, he too calmly nodded.

“Yes. I was aware of the plan. I apologize for keeping you two in the dark.”

“No, to deceive the enemy, one must first deceive their allies. There’s no need for you to apologize, elder brother. But why did the enemy rise up in Taikouzan, so far from capital?”

This made no sense. It nullified the purpose of deliberately thinning the defenses of capital. Even if they had read Nakayama’s plans and were cautious of a trap, the place of their uprising was baffling. Even if a rebellion happened in Taikouzan, Nakayama would not feel a pinch. The unchanged scenes of the city confirmed this.

In response to Doga’s question, Hakuro organized the situation, mixing facts with conjectures.

Perhaps those who initiated the rebellion originally intended to seize capital and behead Azuma. However, fewer people responded than expected, and they likely had no choice but to flee to the borderlands.

Although Hakuro was initially taken aback, the fact that most of the former vassals of Mount Ganzan who had surrendered did not participate in the rebellion indicates that Nakayama’s rule is being recognized. They are unlikely to betray Nakayama in the future. Confirming this was a significant gain.

All that remains is to make a blood sacrifice of those who raised an army.

That was Hakuro’s thought, and he intended to lead the troops himself. Of course, he had no intention of showing mercy, whether his opponent was a girl or an eight-year-old.

Nakayama was once destroyed by Mount Ganzan. Among the four brothers, Hakuro is probably the one who harbors the most resentment.

However, if Hakuro killed Yamato and the others without informing them, it would leave a lingering resentment between him and Kagari, who had pleaded for the mercy of the Ganzan royal family. Unlike Azuma, who is capable of accepting both good and evil, Kagari still retains a youthful fastidiousness.

To avoid a situation where he would be at odds with his younger brother, Hakuro, after consulting with Azuma, summoned Kagari to capital and explained the circumstances.

As expected, Kagari, who had volunteered to suppress the rebellion himself, was given the option to let the targets escape alive, because it was clear that Kagari would not be able to kill Yamato and the others.

Hakuro thinks of such a brother as naive, but considering the threat posed by Yamato and the others who escaped, he judged this naivety to be perfectly tolerable.

So why did he call back Doga at the same time? Hakuro began to explain the main point.

“The circumstances that led the remnants of Ganzan to rebel are as explained. They lack both deep thought and long-term strategy, and they can easily be defeated by sending one or two hundred-commanders. Originally, they are not the kind of opponents that the royal family of Nakayama should deal with.”

However, Hakuro had one concern about the rebels. Why did they choose Taikouzan as the place to raise their troops?

Doga’s opinion that they had become desperate was probably correct. However, Hakuro didn’t like the fact that those who had become desperate happened to choose Taikouzan.

Taikouzan was once the battleground where the Kijin and humans fought.

In other words, it is a land known to humans. It’s a land within human reach.

Behind the remnants of Ganzan are humans — gatekeepers. Hakuro thought it necessary to share the possibility among the brothers and called back not only Kagari but also Doga from the frontlines.

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