Ryuke Riana Crystal Casalia Ogress returned to her hometown.
As far as Casalia was concerned, this was a major scandal.
The present king’s eldest child was illegitimate, and despite being the eldest daughter, she was a troubling existence to handle.
And what was more troubling, she was a ryuujin.
Although no one really knew exactly what being a ryuujin meant, whether they were asexual or hermaphroditic for example, they did know that they could leave offspring as a man could.
In actuality, their court had already received information that the two wives she left in Manesh were already pregnant.
In order for Ria to return to Anise, she needed to bring a proper group along.
500 elite ogres, 300 elite dwarves, 1000 elite beastkin, as well as 1000 humans.
It held the meaning of stating that the country named Ogress was a nation of all races. They only numbered 3000, but their purpose wasn’t to needlessly provoke Casalia, as well as the simple fast that they didn’t have Serge to handle the serious matter of food transportation.
At any rate, wearing jet black armor in the middle of the group with a red-lined black cloak, Ria stood out.
She wasn’t wearing a mask either. Today, she would enter with her face exposed to the citizens. Many of the people who came out to see her swooned after seeing her face.
She had suitably polished her looks in preparation for this day.
She got off her horse when she entered the castle gate. Members of the royal family could ride on horseback until another gate, but this was proof that as archduke, she had already settled into her rank as a vassal.
But without even wearing a small blade on her person and with a not-so-large body, she strode forth into the court in a dignified manner.
To begin with, her status as a human was different.
People that inadvertently saw her Dragon Eyes found themselves unable to stand, taking a knee on the spot.
During the meeting, Ria kneeled, not as family, but as a retainer.
Her royal father, Neyas, persistently received Ria as his daughter.
“Rise, my daughter.”
Ria felt that his voice had weakened.
Thinking about it, Ria had run away from the court around the time various complicated and mysterious things started to happen while her father confronted it all. Even if he had no choice but to do so, she thought it was something to be praised.
“You’ve grown taller. It’s been two years, hasn’t it?”
In that period, it looked as though Ria had more siblings. She wondered if it might turn into something complicated again.
Her royal father sat above her on the throne, relying on it to prop himself up.
Even without using Dragon Eyes, it was easy for her to see how fatigued he had become.
A cabinet minister standing at the bottom of the stairs enumerated Ria’s achievements. If they were true—all of it was true—it was already the work of a hero.
Even though they were already aware, now that it was being recited in front of them, it was natural to doubt if it were all true.
A sense of reverent awe never before seen filled the palace, as well as a sense of envy that could pierce skin.
Once the minister had finished reciting all of Ria’s achievements, the king stood up from the throne.
“I once again recognize that my daughter, Ryuke Riana, is the head of the new archduke family, Ogress.”
Applause and shouts of joy sounded out following the king’s declaration.
“But still, father, you look worn out.”
“Half of it is your fault.”
Moving to his office after the audience meeting, Ria stood lined up with the cabinet ministers.
“Due do your role in Cordova’s destruction, there was a movement to make you Casalia’s queen.”
“That’d be impossible. Ogress and Casalia are far away from each other. There’s a limit to how much a single ruler can govern.”
For example, even with its great might, the empire didn’t intend on ruling the entire continent.
“Well, it took a fair number of things to crush the movement. I was finally able to take a rest.”
Her father’s complexion looked poor on close inspection, but his mood itself didn’t seem that bad. It was true that he solved the issues that popped up in the court.
“With this, Casalia and Ogress are completely prepared for the Millennium, huh.”
“The Millennium, huh…”
The king brought his hand to his chin.
“Will something like that really come?”
“What are you saying this far in?”
Ria questioned him, but humans that hadn’t met existences like Labyrinth or the Demon King would likely only think of things like the Millennium as things that belong in fairytales.
“I talked with the lord of the labyrinth, someone who battled in the Millennium a thousand years before. They said that it will arrive within a decade. Then, when I fought one of the Demon King’s subordinates just a few days ago—”
Since this was something that wasn’t part of Reyas’ report, everyone was surprised.
“I fought against the Demon King directly.”
The cabinet ministers practically fell out of their chairs.
“The previous hero changed sides, became the Demon King, and said that the attack will be within three years.”
That was one of Ogress’ most well kept secrets.
So secret that the only people who knew were Ria, Carla, and Guinevere.
It was much too short of a time.
Hearing the ministers’ groans, Ria continued.
“Although this is something that our Manesh marquis said…”
First, Casalia would annex the northwestern part of the former empire, establishing a huge kingdom.
Then, they would forge an alliance with Lemdria, which had similarly annexed a part of the former empire, and work out a counterplan against the Millennium.
Ogress would ferry across new recruits to Casalia and Lemdria with the intention of reinforcing their war potential.
“However, is that not too advantageous for us?”
Once the Millennium was over, humans would once again foolishly resume fighting each other.
Nevertheless, Ogress said that it would offer its latest technologies.
“Should I care?”
Her royal father did not take the thing known as the Millennium seriously enough.
And above all, other humans did not know about that Demon King.
It’s said that the amount of humans dropped down to one one hundredth their previous number in the last Millennium.
However, the Demon King was taking something beyond that into account.
The Great Collapse.
Happening three thousand years ago, it was a chaotic event that purged all history before it.
“We will need to deepen our ties with Lemdria and Istria for their cooperation. At any rate, the empire is no more.”
There was no longer an empire. There was no Golden Dragon Clarice to defend the human race.
The human race had to make it through the Millennium using all of the technology and abilities it had at its disposal.
“As you say…”
Her royal father nodded deeply.
Well, Ria finished her formal business for now, but there were still things she had to do.
Like speaking to Earl Crystera concerning marrying his daughter.
Called into Earl Crystera’s residence, Ria met with Fio’s father for the first time.
It wasn’t something unreasonable that she never met him in the court either, as he was the previous earl, already passing seventy years old. With his age, he was more like a grandfather than a father.
The previous earl greeted Ria in an independent building built on a side plot on the estate.
“Fio was a child born from old love. I wanted to see her get married with my own eyes, but even after prolonging my life with magic…”
In other words, he was even older than he looked.
“I never thought something like this would happen…”
The former earl looked reluctant, but he also sighed as though he’d given up.
Fio embraced her aging father, nodding many times.
Although Ria finished much faster than expected, a feud was later born with her brothers in the years they were separated from Fio, but that’s a story for another time.
Having slipped out of the castle, Ria returned to Agatha’s shop, the home that could be called her true home.
There were the five members from the start and Fio, but since Serge wasn’t here, it was a bit lonely.
“All things considered, even though I thought that she was by no means normal…”
Agatha looked at Fio with an unchanging stare.
“… I never thought that she would take a bride.”
That was it?”
“Also, becoming a queen was unexpected too. Her being the ogre queen isn’t surprising though.”
After all, humans were things that were no match against those who changed their diapers.
Speaking honestly, she wanted Agatha to come to Ogress. However, there were reasons why that couldn’t happen.
For one, Agatha herself didn’t want to. She was so attached to the shop that she’d had for many years that she couldn’t make herself close it.
Also, there was the aspect that she would be Ria’s hostage as well. She would have become an existence that guaranteed Ogress and Casalia not become hostile with each other.
And, this was something that Ria hoped for either way, but Anise was safe.
Once the demon tribe invaded, Istria, Sacred Mountain, and Ogress would likely be the three places they went to first. Compared to that, Casalia’s capital held little danger.
“Well, I’ll bring your grandchild next time I come. Mom will be a granny.”
Hearing Ria, Agatha stiffened.
The negotiations between Ria and Casalia’s governing body ended relatively amicably.
If there had to be a problem, it was probably the difference in how much danger each side felt concerning the Millennium.
Contrasting how Casalia’s governing body felt that it would be an ordinary war against the demon tribe, Ria felt that it would be something different.
Otherwise, Ria shouldn’t have been able to gain as many allies and supporters as she did in the fight against Cordova.
Something had to be pushing them towards the Great Collapse. However, the person that knew more about the Great Collapse was no long on humanity’s side.
After the daily conferences and feasts, Ria decided to return home to Ogress.
Yes, return home. Ria no longer considered Anise her home. Although Anise was the place she was born and raised, in Ria’s heart, Manesh was her home.
The next time she came, Anise might no longer exist. Conversely, there was the possibility that Manesh might be the one that didn’t exist.
Looking back towards the royal castle, Ria left Anise.