Chapter 111: The Head of the Organization
「I was surprised to be honest. To the extent of losing my own voice.」
During the starry night of the sky, Matia whispered in her office as she waited for the sun to open its eyes again. Rather than the usual documents, Matia looked at a map with the surrounding lands of Garoua Maria. She blinked her sleepy eyes.
The slight bitterness from the chewing tobacco, which spread in her office room, relieved her drowsiness. She didn’t speak well because of the remaining drowsiness consuming her eyes.
「I do not know what to think of this. I am still astounded. Perhaps, for you there is no concern since you always want step in the direction of danger.」
What an abysmal way to describe me.
Despite all the wars, I did not remember wanting to fight it out. However, I did remember stepping on the soil of battlefields for my own selfish purposes.
「I don’t know what you mean. But I don’t feel like denying it either.」
Why was she in the office so late at night? Because it was not easy to respond to this alliance’s attractive invitation. She did not find an answer to this sudden invitation, which looked too good to be true.
Matia sighed as she kept her eyes fixated on the map and parchment in front of her. Meanwhile, the pen continued to drown in ink.
How dexterous. Talk or do the work. What was she waiting for? Phew, I chewed the tobacco in my mouth and exhaled the bitter smoke that spread in her office. My lips were extremely cold and tough.
「Well, anyway…I thought you would always respond promptly to possible alliances.」
Garoua Maria and Belfein’s alliance was not finalized yet. However, for me, the answer was rather obvious.
I would refuse this alliance, of course.
It was a trap, wasn’t it? I could feel it even if the document had the infamous magic seal. As an example, it would be suspicious for a person to bow to someone who still had nothing. Quite weird to step up when they had nothing to gain from this alliance.
To reach us out in order to form an alliance where it would put us with enough power was too surreal. Were they willing to be dominated by the Heraldic Order after all this time? They could be willing to do so if they had a great deal of belief or if they were the devil per se.
However, neither were the answers. It was obvious that the city-state of Belfein would not want to be dominated by anyone when they were a powerhouse themselves.
I moved my shoulders, as I stared at the ceiling. I blinked my eyelids constantly, because my eyes felt exhausted. Not only the eyes, but also my brain, which I overworked for the first time in a long time. I felt it so hot that it almost tore my skull.
I knew it. My persona was not suited for desk problems. I was not a book person myself.
Every time I learned a new piece of knowledge or something that came into thought, it would take my brain a long time to swallow it up. I had to chew it many times, season it, and throw it, so to speak. However, my head was not always that flexible.
The amount of information on documents and maps were too much for my brain to handle. However, the map that Matia held on her hands had crucial information about Garoua Maria and its surrounding lands.
As expected, Garoua Maria was only the central city around this area and a center for eastern and western supplies. The map showed several details of the roads to and from Garoua Maria. From small paths to large roads, and even the swells of the horizon.
Maps were normally created in the shape of a letter, but this map was rather detailed in size.
Garoua Maria was the sacred place for the Heraldic religion. Naturally. This city was a place where culture and supplies gathered, meaning that it was a place where knowledge accumulated. Nevertheless, to make it work, one would probably need a brain like Matia or Filaret to operate it.
Matia closed the map at the table. Apparently, her decision was not going to last much longer.
Matia sharpened her lips while thinking about the whole situation.
「Oh my, is that what you think? Good to know. It seems that you finally understand the value of knowledge after you began to walk side by side with the teachings of the Heraldic Order.」
I thought this Saint was heading toward the parchment in front of her, but no. Instead, she seemed to monitor my actions. What a disgusting person.
Sure, I asked her permission to read some books in her office in order to borrow some knowledge. Nevertheless, I still had qualities that never left me because of my upbringing. Was it really my duty to learn new things and change my whole foundation?
I once bowed to the Great Holy Religion, and I spent my childhood in the back streets. I never had the opportunity to learn new things. In fact, inferior ordinary people could not even access or touch books.
I could read and write because Mrs. Ninz taught me at the orphanage. Rather, I was the lucky one among those who had a lowly upbringing.
Regardless of that, I had to survive in the slums. I had to learn how to live in the slums so that I could eat. I learned where people hid their purse bags and who the careless people were among them. Well, that was a slightly different story for another time.
「No, that’s not what I think. In fact, learning is your duty, Lady Saint. I just need the bare minimum to have a general idea. Anyways, about Belfein. What is your reply?」
My cold lips hurt as I spoke, and I felt my voice stuck in my throat.
I thought the Saint woman would be a little stuck in words when it came to answering to a sudden alliance proposal. However, Matia opened her mouth plainly, as if she ridiculed my shallowness.
「I don’t want to form an alliance. Isn’t their initiative a fake one? If possible, I would’ve killed the messenger right before he left.」
Matia’s fingertips touched the pen before she wrote on the parchment. It had been like this since a while ago. However, her stance did not weaken at all, and she spoke with a resolute voice. It was as if she had decided about everything right from the beginning.
Matia stretched her eyes as she continued to speak.
「But as the head of the organization, I can’t do that. Besides, fake or not, there is presumably an alliance. But, it is best to consider them an enemy at the deepness of our stomachs.」
Her words were undeniably true.
In particular, if the person who offered the alliance were repelled innocently, then the power of Garoua Maria would fall rather than the Heraldic religion. The status of Garoua Maria was at stake. Retaliating with violence would not be very wise. After all, there was no guarantee they were trying to backstab the Heraldic Order. Just assumptions, rumors, and nothing else.
That was why Matia was willing to accept the alliance, open her arms and grab it, and then cut the enemy at the bottom of their stomach.
Indeed, that would be quite reasonable. Of course, it would have been ideal to prove ourselves with our own strength instead of relaying in other powerhouses. It would be the greatest if we could show everyone that the Heraldic Order was strong, invisible monolithic force, with the strength to crush any opponents.
Unfortunately, that was not the case.
Some say that countless people in the Heraldic religion were obedient but had an antipathy toward Matia in their stomachs. Therefore, it was hard to say that our strength was perfect. That would make us hypocrites.
That was why Matia decided to turn Belfein into an ally, and not into an enemy. Those with ambitions and those without could come together to create something new.
There was a sufficient difference in fighting power between Garoua Maria and Belfein. Going to war now would prove to be disastrous, since we lost many soldiers and resources in the previous two wars. So, having Belfein, the famous mercenary nation, as an ally would be quite advantageous.
After all, there was no choice but to make an enemy our ally. Of course, cutting off the enemy’s throat would be too dangerous, even if we thought of this alliance as a trap to lure the Heraldic Order to its downfall. Violence retaliation during peaceful negotiations would bring bad light to the internal organization of Garoua Maria, even if a single individual performed the act. Of course, everything came with its own risks. Stain the name of the Heraldic Order and the fall of Garoua Maria or accept the enemy’s trap.
「Listen, Lugis. Despite my thoughts, we mustn’t be transparent. We have to be careful with our actions. There is a large number of people in the Heraldic Order that still think that we should form a good and peaceful alliance with Belfein.」
Not everyone could draw conclusions by calculation like Matia. Of course, some people thought of this alliance as a great opportunity.
I see. It was a problem when it came to make decisions that could change everyone’s minds. The alliance was one of those tough decisions to make. I knew it. Being the head of an organization was quite a hassle.
「I will be asking Ann to give us her opinion so that the organization would not fall apart. She is a very good coordinator, and she can perform her tasks without much complains.」
Matia professed strange words as she wrote in a piece of the parchment.
Her intention was clear. Yet, it pierced my heart at the same time. Whether it was Filaret or Matia, both misunderstood me as someone with “indistinguishable hunger”.
Well, although she pierced my heart for not suggesting my name, I did understand her choice of words in the depths of my viscera. I was someone who prioritized my emotions. An organization had to be led by someone with a clear mind and not by someone who acted on emotions alone. I always kept getting myself into deep holes of hell. Despite disheartening me, I did understand her suggestion.
Well, yes, on the other hand, her choice was better and easier in a way. I breathed slowly, while taking the chewing tobacco away from my mouth.
EN: someone with “indistinguishable hunger” , quite the way to put it.
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