Chapter 107: Round Table
「The ideal way is to form a coalition and then use a large army. We have to advance like a lightning bolt in order to bring down Garoua Maria.」
The important round table at Gharast Kingdom. From the last seat at the table, the voice of the Cathedral Knight Garras Gargantia echoed high. His attitude was still frivolous even in this solemn occasion. However, his attitude remained firm, and his eyes fixated on everyone seating across the round table.
A loyal Gharast official asked the meaning of his words. Well, it was pretty obvious, since Garras pointed to an offensive strategy. However, why “advance like a lightning bolt”? That doubt swirled through the round table.
A moment of silence. It felt as if the Cathedral officials and the Gharast officials intertwined their thoughts with one another.
This significant round table was only used for a meeting between the Gharast Kingdom and the Cathedral.
Tracing its origins, the Cathedral was under the direct control of King Ameraitz Gharast. However, with the passage of time, the Cathedral became independent and took care of its own affairs as a half-organization. Even if they were under the rule of King Ameraitz Gharast, the Cathedral had an autonomous power and jurisdiction.
The Cathedral gained huge influence over time, which allowed neighboring nations to recognize its power. The northwestern region of the continent became part of the Cathedral’s territory. Thus, Gharast granted the Cathedral some privileges in its internal laws, security mechanisms, and structure for tax collection. Summing up, the Cathedral functioned like an autonomous nation.
The religion proclaimed by the Cathedral was not limited only to the Gharast Kingdom. This religion spread to the surrounding countries and gained a lot of support. The Heraldic religion that people once devoted themselves to was expelled as a result, and with time, they were regarded as rebels. The Cathedral stole the Heraldic position as the main religion in the surroundings countries, destroying all traces belonging to the past religion.
「The meaning is quite simple. They, the forces of the old religion, are now like a shimmering little fire.」
Garras moved his lips swiftly without worrying about the surrounding tension. Everybody’s expression looked tense, and as if their skins felt the pressure.
It was true that the Cathedral had an almost independent power. However, the Gharast Kingdom did not lose all of its influence. Regularly, and in the event of an emergency like this one, both powers held a meeting at the round table with a small number of important representatives. This convention was held for quite some time now. Whether it worked or not was a completely different story.
The emergency this time was the fall of Garoua Maria by the hands of the Heraldic Order, and the alliance between the Hanging Gardens of Ghazalia and the Heraldic Order. This meeting was a response to those events.
Therefore, today, it was not only the two powers, the Gharast Kingdom and the Cathedral, which sat at the round table. Many other powers, such as those belonging to Garoua Maria and those belonging to the surrounding city-states, were willing to speak out in order to retain their interests and standing positions. However, this mixture of powers turned into a whirlpool of chaos.
Among them, Garras’ words wobbled throughout the meeting chamber.
「If you hit them with a tiny force now it will just make that fire bigger. You’ll need a strong breeze to extinguish it out. In order to have a strong breeze, we have to build up a large army.」
A few people openly agreed with Garras’ words, which he said with wide, confident eyes. Not everyone could speak openly like Garras. This place was a place of restraint and concession, since all powers were gathered together. Someone had to conceal whatever it had on his or her heart, or speak with determination.
If one spoke lightly, then that neck would fly immediately. None of these authorities had empathy nor patience when it came to meetings like this.
Therefore, Garras was one of the few who dared to speak his thoughts.
「…The Cathedral Knight Garras is right. Although Garoua Maria has fallen to the enemy, its Great Walls are not something to be reckoned with. If we want to succeed, then we’ll need a large army to stop the breathing root of the old religion.」
This voice belonged to Buckingham Stanley.
Garoua Maria was Buckingham’s home, whose legacy and diplomatic power was still held by him. His words could not be easily ignored, especially for those who wanted to enjoy the benefits that came from Garoua Maria’s jurisdiction. Garoua Maria, as a free trading city-state, that provided many interests for those who held wealth and power.
However, this was more than just a war. It was no longer a religious war. Therefore, it seemed that things were not that simple. An old man opened his eyes and spoke.
「…Although I understand the meaning of a large army to detain them, we are talking about the old religion here. If you bring out a large army, it may shake the authority of the Cathedral. This should be treated as a minor incident.」
A minor incident… Garras seemed to grin upon hearing those foolish words.
Garras laughed within, but at the same time, he understood why those words were professed at the round table. The old man who made the remark was oblivious of the world’s affairs, especially warfare affairs. There was a preconceived notion about religions per se, and the power they wielded in people. That’s why that old man expressed his views on this matter.
Still, it would be easy if this situation were truly a small matter. If it were, really. Garras wrapped his fingertips around a glass placed on the table and put some wine in his throat. Indeed, something refreshing to alleviate his mind and soul for this heated meeting.
Per history, Garoua Maria hadn’t fallen for hundreds of years. Until now. A power conquered the city-state. Yes, a power held by the old religion. Not only that, even the elves, who should have been helping the forces of the Gharast Kingdom, formed an alliance with the old religion.
This fact was undeniably important. If possible, it would be wise to send a coalition from the city-states around Garoua Maria, or send a large army comprised by the Gharast Kingdom and the Cathedral.
Otherwise, a little interference would only increase the fire of the old religion. In that regard, Garras had something in his heart, which he clearly knew.
The existence of that knight, no…The existence of Caria Burdnick, who was now a female rebel swordfighter.
She was definitely a masterpiece. Naturally, she could have become a hero if she wanted. But, for some reason, she abandoned her duty as a knight, and wielded her sword to protect the power of the old religion. The meeting became quite noisy. Nonetheless. Garras sat back in his chair deeply, while his mind enthralled in such thoughts.
In other words, something made her choose that path. Something that gave her power to change. Yes, someone gave that woman, the masterpiece, something tangible.
“What was it?” Garras wondered. “I don’t think she received any treasures, or even knightly benefits. Then, was it honor? No way, the old religion wanted to achieve such conquest in their name, which means that such a thing must have been out of question. Or, was it satisfy her ambitions?” Confusion engulfed Garras’ mind.
Garras thought wrong. However, soon after, he realized something, and made a prediction.
“Sometimes heroes attract other heroes. With this reasoning, I came to a question. Which hero captivated Caria’s heart? Was that woman the witch? Or was that man the traitor? I don’t know which one won Caria’s heart. But, I am very interested to know the answer.”
「Well then. How about this? I have one idea. A great idea to hold down a deer’s horn and remove only its skin.」
A full figured man spoke with a blunt voice. Garras didn’t know this man well, but he was, perhaps, a representative of the surrounding city-states.
He looked dull, but his eyes never lost its color. Rather, he had a brilliant ambition. His thick lips began to open up slowly.
「They’re not a single piece of iron, which can’t be bent. This enemy is just the old religion. Yes, a group of people that don’t know what they want. They’re just a bunch of confused people. Besides, two humans are guiding that old farce with their power. Other than that, it’s just a gathering for the masses.」
Garras had a general idea of what the man wanted to say. While half of it sounded intriguing, it revealed some vague feelings such as dreary. Garras’ expression distorted.
「However, the old religion is aiming to expand its power after forming an alliance with the elves. They can no longer be treated as a minor matter. But, I do understand that mobilizing a large army could be unfavorable for the Cathedral. That’s why I propose the elimination of their figure heads. In order words, I want you to let our city-state kill their leaders. If a snake is decapitated, then it won’t be able to handle the body.」
“I see.” Garras stroke his chin. He roughly grasped that man’s intention. It seemed that those who attended this meeting also understood the whole idea behind that man’s words.
「I want to get permission from the Cathedral. Permission to issue an official document showing our resolve against the old religion. If we advance with this idea, then…We will cut the neck of Matia, the witch, who rebelled against the Cathedral, and the neck of Lugis, the traitor, and bring their heads to this table.」
That man’s prideful voice shook the air across the round table. Garras swayed his shoulders in a grouchy manner until the end of this crucial meeting.
Things are spicing up.
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