Chapter 40: Don't die Kurou-kun!

――In a vast hall of unknown whereabouts, the dark mage organization 'Vampurgis,' led by its master Vortigan, raised their wine glasses high.
“Now, my comrades, it's time for a feast!”


In unison with his call, hundreds of individuals in black suits erupted into boisterous celebration.
They drank, laughed with their companions, and savored the dishes laid out in the grand hall.

“What a joyous occasion!”


The atmosphere was filled with brightness.
Everyone wore smiles on their faces.
To an outsider, it seemed inviting, almost tempting them to join in the revelry.

“Come on, everyone, keep drinking! Tonight is a celebration of the successful ‘Terror Operation’!”

…They were now merrily reveling in the destruction of the nation.
With the four guardian cities of the Lemurian Empire's mainland shattered and exposed to the threats of monsters, they dined.

“I wonder if those folks in the mainland are suffering right now?”

“Oh, they'll scream and cry plenty, but that's yet to come.”

“The nobles might still be acting composed.
Well, we'll make them suffer to no end with the ‘Second Operation’!”

Shoulder to shoulder, the individuals in black suits encouraged each other, saying, “Let's keep up the good work!”

They had no hesitation or guilt whatsoever.
That's because every member of the Vampurgis organization had been placed in the outskirts of the Lemurian Empire, living in constant fear of the monster's threats.

They all shared the determination to bring the same terror to the mainland, staying safely behind the wall.

“Enjoy yourselves, for the sake of our fallen comrades…”

Vortigan's gaze upon these members was reminiscent of a father watching over his children—or perhaps a benevolent king caring for his people.
His eyes, overflowing with affection and warmth, didn't fit the image of a ruthless terrorist.

“Well then…”

Leaning against a corner of the hall, he took out a document from his pocket.
It was a report summarizing the battle in Salem, gathered by two reliable top executives, “Karen, the Blazing Inferno,” and “Nia, the Thousand Faces.”

It detailed the events of the only city they failed to conquer in the ‘Four City Annihilation Operation’.

“I thought for sure they were beaten by Iris, the strongest female swordsman…” Vortigan squinted as he reread the document.

Surprisingly, Iris' name only appeared towards the end.
Karen, Nia, and most of the other members were slain by an unknown man they had no knowledge of.
His name is…

“――Kurou, huh?” Vortigan murmured, impressed.
“If it weren't for you, the mainland would have turned into an even greater hell.”

Kurou, the man who achieved an extraordinary feat and thwarted the complete success of their terrorist operation.
He could be called a “hero” in a sense, and his appearance solidified Vortigan's determination.

“I will definitely kill you, once and for all…!”

At the Sirius Branch of the Magic Knight Order, Branch Chied Fiana stared at the man in front of her with a puzzled look.

“Prime Minister Spellbios, what do you mean by ordering Sixth Class Knight Kurou to single-handedly hunt a dragon…!?”

Fiana sharply questioned, finding the order to be nothing but nonsense.
If it was a bad joke, she wished he would stop.

“Just when I thought why you suddenly paid a visit, you come saying such nonsense.
Dragons are powerful creatures that require multiple high-ranking knights to handle.
To entrust that to a single person like him…”

“Be silent, Branch Chief Fiana.
This is the Emperor’s decision ♡” Spellbios said, pushing the mission document towards her.


The emblem of the “Lemurian Empire” was displayed there.


“Requests from the Emperor must be strictly obeyed according to the rules.
From the deadline to the selection of team members, everything must be followed without fail.
Whether you're a branch chief or the commander, you shouldn't complain, right? ♡”


It was frustrating, but it was true.
The “Imperial Magic Knights” were originally established by the imperial family.
Although they now accept requests from merchants and civilians, they are fundamentally the hands and feet of the Emperor.

Therefore, they cannot go against it.

“Well, well, it seems you're dissatisfied, Branch Chief-sama? Compared to you, Kurou-kun was much more obedient, you know? I actually just met him.

“When I told him to slay the dragon, he was quite surprised.
However, when I added, ‘The people may b

“Huh!? If you say something like that, of course, he'll agree! Did you know about Kurou-kun's past when you said that!?” Fiana was finally furious.

Against her, Spelbios wore a smile full of malice.
Kurou Titus's background was known to the upper echelons when he became a knight.

That he is Iris's disciple.
That he is a “Legendary Conqueror” who can control the cursed equipment.
And that he stood up as a ruthless “Condemner” after his village was burned down by black mages and a horde of monsters.

“Kurou-sama is an outsider…a commoner with no lineage.
I can't believe you upper echelons did this to prevent him from becoming 'the second Iris'…”

“Oh my, stop with your rude delusions, Branch Chief Fiana! On the contrary, the Emperor and I want Kurou-kun to become a legend, so we asked him to single-handedly hunt the dragon, you know?”

“A legend…?”

“Yes! The empire is currently in a dire situation! Monsters are flooding into the mainland, and the common folk are filled with anxiety! That's why we're trying to create someone who can make people feel safe when they think, ‘As long as this person is here! No one will harm us.’ That person is Kurou-kun ♡” The prime minister said in a joking tone.

“That's why I deliberately added conditions that seem impossible.
It's by overcoming difficulties that a man can become a hero, you know! ♡”

“How presumptuous…”

“Yes, I'm in excellent spirits! Well then, shall we part ways soon? Ah, conversing with a beautiful woman was enjoyable indeed ♡.
I’ll come some other time.” While saying he'll come again, the prime minister left, and Fiana shouted, “Don't come back!”

“Sigh…” In her office, Fiana sighed alone.

――Fiana was convinced.
Those above definitely intended to kill Kurou.
And what's worse, they planned to send him to face dangerous monsters alone, all in the name of “for the people!”

If he is told that, then the young man wouldn't even be able to escape.

You are fierce and, above all, a kind person…”

The wonderful boy who believed in her hopeless daughter and had stood by her side.
Fiana genuinely worried about him.
And she made a decision.

“The Emperor’s mission must be followed without question.
If he is told to hunt the dragon alone, then he must accomplish it alone.”

It was an extremely harsh condition.
However, there was no specific weapon requirement, and it wasn't explicitly stated that he had to travel to the dragon alone.

In that case, there was room for support.

“Kurou-sama, as someone entrusted with your care, I will do everything I can.”

Enemy organization: “Kill him!”

Noble of his own nation: “Die! (Go and bring me the dragon!)”

His own weapon: “Soul!”

Kurou: “…”

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