Murderous Emperor's Inconvenient Behavior - Chapter 5
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There was a thick forest on the edges of the Grizmen Kingdom. The dense growth of the shrubs made the area dark and foreboding, with not a single ray of sunlight making its way in.
Then, something happened.
A piercing cry ripped through the air, as if mocking the eerie silence.
Suddenly, there was a rumbling beneath their feet, and the cracking and uprooting of trees could be heard far and wide.
“The monsters are here!”
The guards protecting the Emperor dismounted their horses and looked around.
They waited expectantly, teeth gnashed together, swords clutched fiercely.
Six strange and terrible beings materialized out of the darkness of the thick jungle.
They hissed, flashing their many, many teeth.
They looked like a cross between lizards and people, and their presence was both disgusting and unnerving.
“They are truly horrifying.”
“We should be able to deal with them because they don’t look very threatening.”
“Don’t take the creatures for granted; doing so might prove fatal.”
The knights all launched their assault at the same time.
The beasts dug their sharp claws into the earth repeatedly while their huge tails swung back and forth. They suddenly made a breathtaking dash at the knights.
With a swift sweep of their forepaws, the monsters were able to clear the way through the forest and soar to tremendous heights.
The knights recoiled in fear at the sound and devastating might.
And at that very second…
“Everyone, please take a step back.”
A chilly voice came from around the corner.
When they turned back, they noticed a person waiting for them.
“Despite their small size, you are not prepared to face them.”
Swish. The knights recoiled when the stranger brandished a sword.
In an instant, the person leapt forward, landing on the ground to swing their sword down at a flying creature.
Green blood splattered everywhere as the monster’s torso tore open.
The figure landed on the ground and began slashing at any enemies in its path with rapid speed.
A thudding sound was made by legs and tails hitting the ground. The figure made its way up the monster’s exposed flank before slashing down at its writhing body with the sword and ripping off the beast’s jaws with their bare hands.
Sounds of tearing and severing flesh permeated the woodland where the creatures’ screams had once resonated.
The knights who saw the carnage were frightened by the horrific scene they beheld.
The person brushed away the monster blood that had splattered across their face and continued to concentrate completely on eliminating the monsters.
“It doesn’t matter how often I see it; it always shocks me.”
The knights mumbled, their expressions a mix of amazement and horror.
They scratched their shivering arms.
“When he puts his hands on the blade, he changes.”
“Thankfully, he only lets monsters and hostile nations see that side of him.”
“Remember His Majesty’s accession to the throne?”
“Of course, I remember. His Majesty reprimanded all the hostile forces, including the fact that even though he was the crown prince, there were many of them.”
The subjects of the empire were scared by Eiden’s insanity and his immediate mass cleansing of the nobility who had been hostile to him since before he became emperor.
“At the time, I was afraid His Majesty would become a dictator.”
“Me too. It hasn’t left my mind yet. The scene of him turning around after killing the nobility. Scary as hell.”
The knights glanced at Eiden with distaste.
The final remaining monster was just then confronted by Eiden, who struck his sword at it, causing the tip to cut through the creature’s twisted skull.
The beast sputtered, spat up froth, and staggered backwards.
Monster body parts littered the ground around them.
Extremities severed from trunks, skin peeled back to reveal exposed organs, lips ripped open in anguish, etc.
“What are you muttering about?”
Elliot came up from behind the knights.
After focusing on the Emperor, the knights suddenly turned around.
“I overheard you guys discussing how terrifying His Majesty is.”
“Sir Elliot, don’t you realize? When His Majesty got to the throne, he was just like this.”
“And I know it very well. I was really worried that he was losing his mind.”
As Elliot thought back on the past, his countenance turned cold and distant.
“That sums it up perfectly!”
“But that was only back then.”
“To be very frank, I anticipated daily massacres under his tyrannical leadership. No one expected him to change into the kind of tyrant he is now.”
“Well, I guess it makes sense, doesn’t it?”
Elliot gave a dismissive shrug.
Still, it’s unsettling to watch him in that state.
“Did you watch him put an end to that beast? They may be monstrous, but these creatures are still alive. When His Majesty is taking care of it, it doesn’t look like he’s a human being.”
The knights’ expressions of awe and dread as they gazed upon Eiden were telling.
Elliot stared in the direction they were staring, towards Eiden.
Eiden stood motionlessly, staring at the corpse of the beast he had just murdered.
He wiped the monster’s blood off the edge of his chin, where it had dripped from his mask, with the back of his palm.
“Nevertheless, we ought to be grateful that His Majesty is in our Empire.”
“Of course. Because of His Majesty, we are also secure.
“If you’re aware of that, then keep an eye out and remove those corpses.”
The knights scattered to complete their missions.
Watching all this, Elliot took a step nearer Eiden.
When the knights started picking up the dead monsters, Eiden abruptly looked away.
With a quick glance, Eiden checked with Elliot.
The strangeness of his eye movement caused Elliot to swallow unconsciously.
“Is it possible for you to be a bit kinder?”
Keeping his legs from wanting to run away, Elliot spoke softly, as if kidding.
“I have to make sure they’re dead.”
“Brutality was unnecessary.”
“Observe them. There is fear among the knights.”
With a quiet laugh, Eiden relieved the uncomfortable tension that had been building up around her as a result of Elliot’s persistent prodding.
Elliot internally released a sigh of relief at the calm environment.
It felt as if he were staring down a dangerous beast.
“If I may pose a question,…”
“Are you frustrated…”
Eiden’s brow furrowed slightly.
Eiden’s attitude seemed unmoved by the insolent statement from his subordinate.
Because Elliot was involved, that was feasible.
Elliot had known Eiden since they were both children, and he had supported his rise to power by fighting at his side.
Therefore, he was the one person who had the most intimate knowledge of Eiden.
He also understood what was missing in Eiden.
“As in, to the point where you feel sorry for the monsters.”
“Why do you keep dodging the question?”
“I shouldn’t let my wants mount up.”
“That makes sense. You’ve done a terrible job with the creatures.”
Look at that, Elliot seemed to say as he pointed at the bloody scene.
Eiden gave a dismissive shrug.
“Are you tired of it?”
“I have a responsibility to do this.”
“However, that need not always be the case.”
Elliot’s reply was met with a look of confusion.
Elliot finally spoke the words that had been bouncing around in his head for a long time.
“Why did you allow her to leave?”
Instantly, Eiden swiveled his head.
A clear indication that he was done talking.
“If that kid was here, you wouldn’t be here.”
“When was the last time I moaned about going on a monster hunt?”
“… That’s not what I’m trying to say.”
“Monster hunting is a fantastic way to relieve tension.”
“Relief of tension.”
That’s really getting on his nerves.
Elliot scratched behind his ears and neck.
It’s likely that the emperor is the only one who uses stress release in the form of terrible monsters.
“Okay. That kid still matters, whether it’s to help you relax or to give you what you want.”
“It’s important to Your Majesty…”
“I mean, why bring a female who can’t do anything?”
“You have to do that to avoid future difficulties.”
Eiden laughed gently at Elliot’s comments.
His formerly rigid lips relaxed, exposing a handsome young man’s features.
The Emperor’s unmasked beauty flashed across the room like a shaft of sunlight, then faded away.
In spite of having his attention briefly diverted, Elliot rapidly came to.
“Because you’re holding them back, the monsters are now silent. But if you let your guard down, they will bite.”
“Who will bite me?”
“Who do you think?”
“I had no idea there were creatures lurking behind the royal walls. Was I wrong to not go after them first?”
“Is this the time for jokes, or what?”
“Do I appear to be kidding?”
A piercing look shot his way and fixed him.
Elliot gargled vigorously.
For a split second, he could swear he could feel Eiden’s shoulder muscles expanding and a foreboding energy building.
The possessor of superhuman strength that could tear creatures apart with one hand may as well have the ability to rip off his own throat.
“Don’t worry; that stuff won’t happen.”
“You mean someone pulling my neck out?”
With disdain in his eyes, Eiden studied Elliot.
“They’ll realize there is no one else to turn to until another saint suddenly comes among them.”
“Dearest Majesty. The future is completely unpredictable. When are you finally going to figure it out?”
Elliott offered genuine guidance.
To remove the monster’s blood from his blade, Eiden swung his sword and then sheathed it.
Elliot shook his head in dismay at Eiden’s disregard for his advice.
“Is it time for you to start fresh?”
Deep in the woods, more monstrosities await.
“It seems like nightfall is approaching.”
Eiden turned his gaze skyward at Elliot’s remarks.
There was no way for any light to penetrate the dense canopy of leaves.
The sun must have significantly slanted out of view.
Eiden sighed deeply.
“You can hunt tomorrow. The beasts were not going anywhere.”
After recognizing his subtle look, Elliot was going to make a remark.
The distant cry of a hawk.
After that, it spread its massive wings and came swooping down on the two guys.
Eiden’s face showed no emotion as the hawk landed gently on his lifted arm and sank into his flesh with its bent talons.
“Is this a time-sensitive message?””
“More than likely.”
Eiden removed an item from a case that had been fastened to the hawk’s leg.
Unrolling the tightly curled sheet of paper, he gave it a cursory glance.
“What does it say?”
Eiden lifted the corners of his mouth in a peculiar gesture.
“No unexpected issues should arise with Grizmen… Have they decided on a hostage?”
Eiden responded in writing, placed it in the case, and released the hawk.
The hawk did a single lap over them before taking off in the opposite direction.
“Who is it? Is he, once more, the second prince?”
Eiden completed his speech with a lengthy whistle.
A moment later, a black horse galloped in, its hooves resounding with thunder.
Eiden took the reins and mounted the horse gingerly.
“Why are you staying here instead of going?”
He then placed the responsibility on Elliot, who stood there gaping.
“Hold on a sec! Who else could it be if not the second prince?”
“What do you suppose it may be?”
“It’s quite improbable that they’ll hand over the first prince. Prince number three? He’s too young though.
Elliot cocked his head and began to enumerate the possible culprits.
“The king of Grizmen has chosen an unexpected figure.”
“Who is it, anyway?”
“When you go to Grizmen, you’ll see.
“What’s the difference if you tell me now?”
“I don’t want to dampen your enthusiasm.”
Elliot reacted seriously to the joke by grabbing the back of his neck.
“We had to get to Grizmen. They’ve put on a show, and we have to watch it.”
Eiden kicked the horse’s side in a playful manner.
The blood on his monster mask made his eyes look all the more menacing.