A palace with an old-fashioned design that clearly showed the skill of the dwarves.
Knights of colorful armor walking back and forth through the beautiful garden. On top of their breastplate was a crest of an angel holding a sword of light.
“Prince! Where are you?!”
In the Imperial Palace, the cry of the guards rang loud.
“Haven’t you found him yet?”
“Yes, I think he escaped from the Imperial Palace…”
Hwang Bo-sung, who heard the guards reporting in a low voice, was frowning deep.
“This one! The one called the prince of a nation is running away!”
Exactly 10 years ago.
The year following the fall of the Baroque Empire, the Symphonia Kingdom had declared itself as an Empire, and Luke de Rakan had become the emperor.
The two kingdoms of Irea and Castia, which were destroyed by the Advanced Undead, couldn’t manage the occupied lands of the Baroque Empire.
Eventually, the two nations decided to let Symphonia claim them, and its lands were divided and were given to the Libiya Kingdom and the Volga Republic.
Because of the enormous estates gathered, it wasn’t strange to declare an Empire, but Luke, who hated it, wasn’t intent on claiming an empire.
However, the opinions of his retainers were different.
“When expanding our land, new foundations and columns need to be laid. How long will we hold back, especially after thousands of people have come under us to start a new life?”
“Your Majesty, there was information that the old Baroque nobles are looking for declaring their estates as independent, trying to create their own troops.”
“To establish a new order, we don’t just need military. We need a new authoritative figure.”
It wasn’t just the retainers and council members.
Every time Luke moved, people would cheer ‘Long Live the Emperor!’
Eventually, Luke got crowned.
Just like the time when he became a king, the pope had blessed him, even his emperor’s coronation had a pope.
And that was the last thing that Pope Veronica III of the Holy Empire did.
“When I crowned you, this nation was in turmoil and faced death on our doorsteps. But, with all the elements of anxiety done, I think that my need is done, and I am going to step back from being the pope.”
Having stabilized the Holy Empire by new and strong reforms and eradicating the corruption, she had given the empire a strong base.
And as her successor, she recommended High priest Luther.
Arch Duke Gregory, and the other High ranking priests and nobles, including Luther himself, didn’t like it.
However, she didn’t back down.
There was no one that managed to stop the pope from stepping down and live her life as a normal woman.
Well, Luke and Karen could have talked her into being the Pope, but they preferred her coming home.
The problem was the people of the Holy Empire.
Not just the residents of Bless, but people from all over the nation gathered around the Holy Palace and demanded her to come back.
Some priests even went on a hunger strike.
“Just because I am stepping back doesn’t mean I am leaving you. I swear on God, I will always look for peace and the well-being of the people in this nation.”
People eventually understood her words.
Shortly after, the conclave gathered, and Luther formally became the pope.
Reina, who retired, went over to Symphonia Empire, and this time, she was officially declared as the Empress of Symphonia.
The following year, she gave birth to a son.
Her son, Karl, the prince.
Prince Karl was healthy and clever.
The problem was that Prince Karl was the curious kind.
From the moment he began to walk, he would go all around the Imperial Palace, and after that, he would go hiding in places, trying to go undercover to look outside the Imperial Palace.
“No. You are too young to see the outside world.”
“Ugh, grandad! In technical terms, this is called being over-protective!”
Not long ago, he was scolded by Belik for running away.
However, it didn’t seem like he reflected on it.
“Inform the Imperial Guards right away, so that they can check and look in the right place!”
As the turmoil subsided, the security of the nation improved.
As the exchange between humans and other races turned active, the trade between Rhodesia and the Southern Continent increased. Scholars would quote that the Middle-earth was facing a second boon.
However, wicked people were everywhere.
Some people, who recognized the prince, might have wrong intentions.
That was why Hwang Bo-sung decided to mobilize not just the guards but even the Imperial troops.
“Count, what happened?”
“Ah! Princess, you came.”
When Karen appeared with priests, Hwang Bo-sung explained the situation.
Karen, an adult in her late teens, was expected to be the next pope of the Holy Empire.
In recent years, on behalf of her mother, she frequently traveled back and forth between the Holy Empire and played an important role in maintaining friendly relations between the two nations.
“Is Karl in trouble?”
“Yes, we don’t know where he is…”
Karen shook her head as Hwang Bo-sung was trying to explain, rolling up her dress’ sleeves, she spoke, “I’ll find him. So there is no need to inform the Imperial troops.”
“I know where he went.”
Answering, Karen immediately used teleport magic.
She moved to the suburbs of the capital.
The place where Gigants were tested—the Gigants of the Katarina Magic Tower.
In that field was a little boy watching two Gigants battle.
“Woah, what good will attacking like that do?! Put a little more swing in that sword!”
When the red Gigant he was cheering for was bushed by the blue Gigant, he jumped up in frustration.
“Ugh, why stab there! Even I would be better than…”
The body of the little prince, Karl, went stiff.
“You have no sense of fear! What is there was an accident. You came here all alone!”
“Ahahaha! It hurts! Hurtsss!!!”
Karen pulled Karl’s ear.
Unlike the Gigant Arena, the test fields weren’t equipped with defense magic circles, so if there was an accident, it would become a huge mess.
And without getting permission, he was out roaming n such fields!
“Because of you, the Imperial Palace has turned into a mess. What are you thinking, running away from home?!”
“I didn’t run away!”
“What?! What are you saying you didn’t run away?!”
As the two were fighting, Karen raised her fist to punch some sense into him.
Right then, someone held her hand.
The identity of the person made Karen go into shock.
“It has been long, Karen. How is the Holy Empire? It was said that they were worried as it didn’t rain for a long time.”
Instead of answering her father’s words, Karen spoke back, “Did dad bring Karl out?”
“It was because he wanted to see the new Gigant.”
Just like Luke, Karl was very interested in Gigants.
His room was decorated with Gigant models.
Luke too thought of putting his son’s interest in a good way.
So, he brought the kid over to the test field of the Gigants. That was why the red Gigant was getting pushed.
Luke was in the blue Gigant, which currently had its breastplate open.
“Even if it was you! How can you take him out without saying anything?! Everyone is worried!”
“I guess that Gigant test took some time. I was in a hurry and didn’t stop to inform them…”
Despite Luke’s excuses, Karen’s gaze was cold.
“Just so you know, I am telling mom.”
“Ehh, come on…”
Before Luke could think of any other excuse, Karen teleported back.
It seemed like she was really going to tell her mother.
“Ahh, we are in a mess.”
For Luke, Reina was more terrifying than the Demon King he fought 10 years back.
She was scary when it came to child education.
Unlike the freedom she had given to Karen in the past, she took Karl seriously.
Not because he was the crown prince who had to rule the empire at one point in the future after Luke, but it was because Karl was born in an era of peace and was a spoiled child.
“I am going to hear a lot of nagging today.”
“Dad, you are a hero who saved the continent. Why do you act so weak in front of mom?”
Luke stroked the head of his son who was grunting and grumbling.
“Because your mom was the one who made me a hero.”
Without her, Luke wouldn’t succeed.
Think about the past for a moment, Luke and his son went to the Imperial Palace.
The excitement of battles had ended a long time ago. Things of that time were now history.
There was sone tedious and cumbersome things that went on for Luke, but time was too precious that he wouldn’t wish for anything else.
Because of that, he managed to get a peaceful life with Reina.
Even though Reina’s nagging was a little loud, he wished for this peaceful life to continue.