Only a few enemies remain within the castle.
Those who are capable of fighting have most likely already fought.
Even if he used mana detection, all he found were feeble responses. The majority of them were ordinary troops who could not potentially pose a danger to Ardis, or non-combatant servants.
It’s not like that’s a problem.
For Ardis, any enemy that comes attacking will be repelled, but he didn’t plan to do anything to the servants.
Rather, they should leave the castle to avoid becoming a nuisance.
Ardis’s personality hasn’t gone crooked enough to find superiority in chasing after civilians.
「Up or down, which is better? 」
「Isn’t it up? All those big shots like to stay high. right? 」
「It will be much easier to find the Thoria king if there are strong ones near him though. 」
Previously, Nere appraised King Thoria―― or rather, Marquis Thoria at the time as a 『Filthy and greedy pig with no intelligence』.
With those words, it can be assumed that he doesn’t have significant power on his own.
Therefore, the many mana reactions that Ardis can sense must then include King Thoria’s, which should be blended in with the mana reactions of a slew of other guards and servants.
With no other choices, Ardis and Rona could only go up the floors in the castle, slowly identifying each mana reaction to find the correct person.
Naturally, most of the hiding people were servants trying to avoid a battle.
「They’re all running and hiding. 」
By the time they cleared more than thirty rooms, Rona groaned about the enemies, fed up.
「There’s no royalty that will come out front in this situation though. 」
「Isn’t there one in Glock? Your iris haired disciple that’s eager to fight in the front lines that is. 」
「Minerva is not royalty, but a duke’s daughter. But that’s also in the past. 」
「Since she has the right of succession, isn’t she half royalty or something? 」
「Even if you asked me, I don’t know about those stuff. 」
Rona was the one who ended the talk that had no place in the enemy fortress.
「Well, rather than that. 」
Rona suddenly stopped in the corridor.
「The reaction here, isn’t it strange? 」
He was facing towards a wall with no door.
However, there were three mana reactions belonging to people on the other side.
The strange part was the position of the empty space and the building structure.
From a glance, no entrance could be seen.
Naturally, there was no door in the corridor; Ardis searched the next two rooms, but there were also no doors connecting to that space.
It could possibly be a room accessed from the floor above or below, but it’s not a building structure that is normally seen.
Seeing how there were no doors in the corridors or nearby rooms, it was obvious they were hiding something here.
An unnatural space was behind the wall, and there were mana reactions of people behind it.
「Looks like a hidden room. 」
It’s natural for them to get that conclusion.
Rona complained at the fact that the mana reactions behind the door didn’t seem strong at all.
Even the strongest reaction among them did not even come close to Moore’s level.
Rona was disappointed, thinking that even if a fight broke out, it wouldn’t be much.
「Alright, time to tear it down. 」
Hearing Rona’s unenthusiastic reply, Ardis used his arts to blow apart the wall separating him and the hidden room.
The wall was busted open along with a loud noise.
Since the wall was made of rock, the moment he breached it, it turned into tiny pieces of rock and made a giant cloud of smoke.
When the smoke finally settled, what he saw was three men.
It was an awfully luxurious looking interior considering it was a hidden room.
Three men surrounded a table with many decorations; the men, who appeared to be drinking alcohol together, glanced at him with a surprised expression.
「W, W-w-w-what!? 」
A chubby man in the forties was looking at Ardis with round eyes.
In his hands was a transparent glass decorated with several ornaments, and the liquid inside was shaking while half full.
It was likely this man was the Thoria king.
With a crimson face as a result of alcohol consumption, from what he can see, the wine bottles on the table and the racks surrounding him were all of the highest quality.
「Hmm, when your subordinates are fighting with their life on the line……, you’re having a drinking feast in this secret place? 」
Without hiding a sliver of contempt, Ardis mocked him.
Among the three, the elderly looking man with the best physique shouted angrily at Ardis.
「Bastard, who are you! 」
Ardis had seen that man before.
Before he met with the twins, Ardis saw his face once when he was active in Thoria.
Certainly, he was the general for the Thoria army――but while recalling the memories of that time, he lost his interest at the same time.
「There Rona, that guy’s your target. 」
「Eeeeh, only someone like that―? 」
Judging that he’s only flimsy at best, Ardis tossed the task towards Rona.
They did make a promise of letting Rona take the strongest bodyguard of King Thoria, but even Ardis didn’t think his best bodyguard was only at this degree.
Still, a promise is a promise.
In that place was King Thoria, the general, and another elderly man clearly a bureaucrat.
Leaving aside the general’s strength, at the very least, with the other comparison being only an old bureaucrat, there was no need to think.
So, the general inevitably became Rona’s target, but he’s not someone that can satisfy Rona’s thirst for battle at all.
「You peasant! You’re in front of His Majesty’s presence! 」
The general that stood up and drew his sword suddenly crashed into the rack on the wall in the next moment.
「A~ah, and that’s finished……」
Rona sighed with disappointment obvious on his front.
With a natural reaction, the Thoria king and the bureaucrat looked at the general on the ground stupefied.
The general took on the shockwave created by Rona’s arts without chanting and was thrown in the wall.
The person himself likely wouldn’t have realized what hit him either.
Seeing the general being defeated in mere moments, the remaining two quickly scrambled for an escape.
「You’re not getting away. 」
However, Rona easily blocked where they were headed.
Rona climbed on the old bureaucrat so he couldn’t move, while Ardis blocked the Thoria king while he tried to escape.
Probably sensing death when he saw Ardis wielding the crimson sword, the Thoria king fell on his back with a pathetic noise.
Ardis slowly approached the pathetic Thoria king.
「I-Imbecile! I am the king! 」
「The general there said 『In front of His Majesty』 just now but, so it really was like that. Thanks for saving me effort to confirm. 」
「Is that behavior to show against a king!? 」
「So what? Even if you are a king, you’re not my superior. In the first place, a king’s authority doesn’t work on a mercenary. Even more so when on opposite sides. 」
As if Ardis’s words were unexpected, the next moment, the Thoria king suddenly became agitated.
「A mere mercenary dares to go against me!? 」
「Even if that mercenary was the one to destroy your prided army? 」
The Thoria king’s face distorted from Ardis’s cold retort.
The Thoria king glared at Ardis hatefully.
「Remnants of Nagras Kingdom? Whatever efforts are futile this late! 」
「Not really, I wasn’t hired by anyone or asked by anyone. 」
「Then why are you doing something like this!? A grudge against Thoria!? 」
「A grudge, huh……come to think of it, there certainly are some. 」
Taking his eyes off Thoria’s king, Ardis dug up his memories.
「Getting forced out of Thoria with false crimes of apparently obstructing soldiers working and abducting children. Attacking Corsas Forest when we finally settled down forcing us to abandon our house. Then also sending your army to Glock recently……」
Ardis slowly counted how many times the Thoria king had wronged him.
「You’re the one who disrupted our lifestyle every time we settled down. I think that’s enough reason for a grudge? 」
The Thoria king was confused about what Ardis said.
From his looks, he didn’t look like he knew what Ardis was talking about, nor who he was.
「Right, a mercenary isn’t worth remembering in your mind anyways. Still don’t understand after seeing this? 」
Ardis called five swords over the gate, and then used sword magic on them, lifting them up.
Seeing that, the Thoria king finally understood and recalled who was in front of him.
「Don’t tell me…… S-Sword magic? Countless Swords Sorcerer? ……That means, you are the bastard with that woman! 」
The Thoria king who finally knew who Ardis was after seeing the floating swords suddenly became angry and yelled at Ardis while glaring.
That woman probably meant Nere.
Ardis himself hadn’t seen Thoria’s king prior to this face to face.
At most, he had only had some minor scuffles with the general who was now passed out on the rack.
But on the other hand, Nere had met with him when he was still Marquis Thoria, and Ardis knew there must’ve been something that happened, albeit not knowing the details.
Simply put, the reason why Ardis and the others were chased out of Thoria, and were attacked in the Corsas Forest, was because of what happened between Nere and the Thoria king.
「I’m sure you only thought I was Nere’s accessory, but I’m not feeling the same on the receiving end of your troubles. What is certain is that I have some favors to return if the chance comes. 」
「No……but I was only! 」
No matter what King Thoria tried to say, Ardis smacked his arm with the crimson sword.
It wasn’t with too much strength.
It wouldn’t even have fractured his bones, but it was super effective against King Thoria who wasn’t familiar with pain.
「I will not take your life if you are prepared to submit docilely. Choose between relinquishing the castle and nation in order to live or die here.」
With flying swords surrounding him on all sides and the crimson sword pointing towards him, King Thoria opened and shut his mouth a few times, before finally giving up with an expression that accepted the demand.
「………………I understand, ……I surrender. 」
The old bureaucrat who was held down by Rona raised his sad voice, but King Thoria with his dropped shoulders answered tiredly.
「It’s fine, Costas. 」
「Very well. Then I will restrain you. 」
After feeling a little surprised at the unexpected surrender, Ardis slowly approached King Thoria when he suddenly sensed strange mana expanding from him.
Rona who similarly sensed the mana expanding sent a warning.
King Thoria took out something like a short wand from his pocket.
「Bring judgement! 」
King Thoria shouted something that seemed like the activation key, and the light of mana that compressed at the tip of the short wand shot towards Ardis.
It was a surprise attack, moreover, an attack mimicking a high-level art.
Most people wouldn’t react in time and be killed or dealt a fatal wound with their chest pierced through but having crossed between the lines of death many times, Ardis unconsciously put up a barrier and blocked it.
The attack unleashed by King Thoria didn’t reach Ardis, but it crashed into the reflexively deployed barrier, fizzing out in a dim purple color.
He probably never expected it to be blocked.
King Thoria lost his words, seeing Ardis who stood, and hadn’t received even a single wound in front of him.
And as such, Ardis now had eyes that were very cold.
「That’s some playful mischief. To think that your last resort is some flimsy tool bought with money. 」
With those words, King Thoria dropped the short wand.
It was unknown whether he dropped it because the attack couldn’t be used a second time, or because he knew that the same attack wouldn’t work on Ardis.
However, it is certain that the fear in King Thoria’s eyes was stronger than before.
Ardis grasped one of the flying swords.
After demonstrating grace by sparing him if he submitted gently, he was flung sand from behind.
As expected, he can’t be compassionate the second time.
As if Ardis’s thoughts were obvious to the eyes, King Thoria suddenly got on his fours and started begging.
「Spare me! I surrender! My assets, the castle, even my territory, take it all! So please, at least my life……! 」
「Enough. It’s my mistake to offer that option. You wanted to stay as a king, right? If you’re so insistent about being a king, then you’ll have it. 」
Hope resided in King Thoria’s eyes as he interpreted Ardis’s words in his favor, but Ardis’s next words would scatter all of that.
「Yeah. And leave this world while being a king. 」
King Thoria begged desperately with no regards to shame or reputation towards Ardis who threw those cold words.
「Forgive me……I don’t want to die yet! 」
「I gave you a chance. It is you yourself that chose to throw it away. 」
Not sparing another glance to King Thoria who clung to him, Ardis used the real sword in his hand and took his head away easily.
And with that, the Thoria Kingdom’s first ruler in the form of King Fredrick, met his end within a year of his ruling.
In the end, the Thoria Kingdom that became a kingdom by betraying the Nagras Kingdom lost its presence, and with its history unbelievably short, it was ridiculed and called a bubble country.