V2 Chapter 89: Lan and Yamato

“…Sister, is everyone alright?”

Hearing the alarm bell echoing in the fortress of Mount Ganzan, Yamato asked his sister with concern.

Lan gave her younger brother a reassuring nod.

“They’ll be fine. The elite soldiers of Mount Ganzan won’t be defeated by mere monsters.”

Lan said this with overflowing confidence, but if one listened closely, they’d notice a slight tremble in her voice at the end.

A year ago, Lan’s voice wouldn’t have wavered like this.

Back then, Mount Ganzan was the most powerful kingdom in the demon realm, boasting renowned generals and brave soldiers under King Gien. Having grown up in the western capital city, protected by the Ganzan army, neither Lan nor Yamato had ever felt threatened by monsters.

But everything changed when they were defeated by the Nakayama army, leading to their father, King Gien’s, death in battle. Lan and Yamato fled the castle, protected by their retainers. Their frail mother chose to stay behind in capital, fearing she’d slow them down. The siblings only learned of her decision after leaving the capital.

Following that, they traversed their territory, evading pursuers, and eventually found refuge in the remote Mount Ganzan.

The Ganzan army established a fortress there. It might sound like a strategic move, but in reality, they simply had nowhere else to go and were hiding in fear of the Nakayama army.

Lan wasn’t well-versed in politics or strategy, but she understood that their situation was dire.

A princess who had lived without any hardships in Mount Ganzan now had to endure days and nights in a makeshift hut made of raw wood. The meals were limited to extremely salty soup and rock-hard soba noodles. Under such conditions, it was hard to remain hopeful.

Despite this, Lan never complained. Her mother had always drilled into her the importance of not acting entitled due to her royal status.

No matter how modest their accommodations, they still had a roof over their heads and food every day. In comparison to other soldiers, they were fortunate. Moreover, seeing her younger brother, Yamato, not uttering a word of complaint, Lan, as his elder sister, couldn’t afford to either.

Even now, Yamato was worried about the soldiers outside, not himself. Lan took this moment to silently vow to protect him from the clutches of the Nakayama’s evil forces at all costs.

At that moment, the wall of their room exploded with a deafening noise.


Lan instinctively pulled her brother close as shards from the shattered wall rained down on them. One sharp piece grazed her face, leaving a streak of blood flowing from her forehead.

She was aware of her injury but had no time to attend to it. Through the broken wall, a monster appeared.

It had two long antennas, two large, wriggling compound eyes, and a massive jaw drenched in blood. Its arms resembled scythes, and from its bloated torso, four legs protruded.

In a word, it was a praying mantis. However, it was far larger than any insect Lan had ever seen in the royal gardens. Given its size, it might be capable of preying on Kijin — or perhaps it already had.

The monster’s jaws, which made a chilling noise as they opened and closed, gleamed red as if soaked in blood.


“Yamato, behind me!”

Letting go of her brother, Lan quickly drew a dagger from her robes to confront the creature.

However, her face was pale and her hand, gripping the dagger, trembled. Lan had not been trained in any martial arts or magic that would allow her to face such a beast. At most, she knew self-defense techniques designed for human opponents. Naturally, she had no experience fighting monsters.

To make matters worse, Lan had always been terrified of insects. With one this large, her revulsion was even more intense than her fear. Although she chided herself inwardly, trying to muster courage, her limbs wouldn’t stop shaking.

If not for her resolve to protect Yamato, she might have fainted on the spot.

She glanced reflexively at the entrance, hoping for soldiers who might have sensed the disturbance and come to help. If this were the palace in the western capital, guards would have immediately rushed in to protect them.

But the current Ganzan army couldn’t afford to station guards just for their protection. They couldn’t even assign guards to Yamato, the figurehead of the rebellion. That was the reality in Mount Ganzan.

It was unfortunate that Kurt, the guard assigned to them by the Light God temple, was away.

Still, even if that young man had been there, Lan doubted he would have defended them. Kurt clearly resented his role as a guard and often showed his annoyance with them. She secretly suspected that he might be an agent for the Nakayama army.

“Yamato, when I give the signal, you run outside and head to Lord Kasasagi,” she instructed.

“But what about you…!”

“I’ll follow right behind you. Understand?”

With no other choice, Yamato nodded in response to his sister’s assertive instructions.

Just as Lan was about to shout “Run!”, another entity slipped into the room. Another mantis-like creature, similar to the first. Yamato let out a small cry, drawing Lan’s attention to the new intruder. Her expression darkened with despair.

Seizing this opportunity, or perhaps not wanting its prey to be snatched by another, the first creature raised its scythe-like arms, lunging at Lan.

The slimy green scythe filled her vision, causing Lan to let out a sharp scream, instinctively closing her eyes.

She braced herself, expecting the monster’s scythe-like arm to grasp and tear her apart at any moment.



The anticipated blow never came.

Instead, she heard the jubilant voice of her younger brother.


Encouraged by that voice, Lan hurriedly opened her eyes. What she saw was a young man with silver hair, standing with his back turned to her, seemingly shielding her.

Moments later, there was a clattering sound as something fell to the floor. Lan realized that they were the monster’s arms, sliced off by someone. A sharp yell erupted from Kurt’s mouth.


Kurt’s voice, which sounded like a whip, blew away the monster as if it were a weapon in itself. The monster that had lost both arms was pushed out through the hole in the wall that it had opened.

No, it was not just pushed out. In Lan’s line of sight, the neck of the mantis-like monster sagged, its legs were torn off, and its swollen belly burst open, exposing its entrails.

Kurt had defeated the monster with just his voice.

Lan was about to let out a sigh of relief, but then she remembered the other presence here and hurriedly tried to warn Kurt. But when she turned back to the entrance, she realized that it was not necessary.

There lay a dying monster whose neck and torso had been severed, twitching its limbs. It seemed to be barely alive, but it was obvious that it would not last long. And it was also obvious that it was Kurt who had cut the monster as he rushed in.

“Are you alright?”

“Yes! Thank you, Kurt!”

Kurt, who turned around to ask, was answered cheerfully by Yamato.

Lan also tried to hurriedly express gratitude, but words wouldn’t come out. Even if it was just for a moment, facing the monsters, she probably had resigned herself to death. Her body continued to tremble minutely.

Kurt seemed to notice Lan’s abnormal state but, judging that her life wasn’t in immediate danger, he didn’t press further.

The Mount Ganzan army managed to repel all the monsters shortly after.

“We owe a great debt of gratitude to Lord Kurt. If not for you, Yamato and Lan might have become food for the monsters. If that had happened, I wouldn’t know how to apologize to Lord Gien of the Underworld!”

Saying this with a hearty laugh was Kasasagi, a middle-aged warrior. He was the mastermind behind this rebellion and the de facto commander of the Mount Ganzan army.

Once counted among the famed Sixteen Spears of Mount Ganzan, he was a veteran warrior with a highly respected martial reputation. However, as the leader of the rebels, there were undeniable aspects where he lacked meticulousness, and this was evident in his actions and words.

His current statement, especially made in front of the principal figures, Yamato and Lan, was inappropriate. After all, the danger Yamato and the others faced was, in fact, due to Kasasagi’s responsibility as the commander.

Yet, Kasasagi laughed obliviously—or perhaps he might be aware. The fact that Kasasagi, who usually doesn’t summon Yamato and the others for military councils, specifically invited them today suggests underlying motivations.

Addressed by Kasasagi, Kurt only returned a cold gaze without responding.

Afterward, in front of the assembled officers and soldiers, Kasasagi brought up several topics, but none seemed to lead to any improvement of the current situation. The council seemed to be heading toward a conclusion without any notable results.

However, before Kasasagi could declare the meeting over, Yamato spoke up.

Yamato, placed in a ceremonial chief position, directed a proposal at Kasasagi and everyone present in the council.

— It was a proposal to surrender to the central mountains, exchanging his own life to plead for the lives of the officers and soldiers.

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