Chapter 342: The Council’s Declaration
A riot suddenly began in Arche, the Royal Capital of the Gharast Kingdom.
The rain gradually began to intensify, and at some point, it began to pour heavily. Rumors created anxiety, anxiety became fear, and fear made new rumors.
A short time before the messenger was sent to the guardian Valerie Brightness, there was a rumor floating around in the Royal Capital.
…A swarm of magical beasts mimicking a tsunami was facing the Gharast Kingdom as a natural disaster.
Inside the Royal Castle, a meeting was held in the government-designated area. In the gorgeously decorated council hall, the Gharast Kingdom’s main personnel and senior nobles gathered in groups.
All who attended were dressed in gold and silver woven garments. Their attire and posture were adorned by unmistakable prosperity and honor.
This place was the most important hall in the whole Kingdom. A group of people who practically managed the politics of the Gharast Kingdom. And all of them knew about the importance of their roles.
In the council hall, where only muffled voices echoed usually, today the situation was different.
Sometimes, hoarse voices were heard, and the sound of the round table being hit hard echoed repeatedly. The servants were running hastily, carrying wine and parchments.
A senior noble who had several medals on his attire said while hardening his lips.
「In addition to the national army, dispatching the nobles’ private armies is out of the ordinary. It’s snowing now. How much national funds and personnel will be spent on that? There is also the suppression of Elizard in the south and the Bolvat Dynasty in the east, which we cannot ignore. What do you think, National Protector!?」
Those were the words of the head of the Gilleage Family, which owned many private armies and castles. Those ferocious eyes, like those of a hawk, were staring at the lone man in this vast political complex.
As a senior aristocrat, he behaved exactly as his station allowed him to, from the quality of his voice down to his gestures. In particular, he knew very well how to behave in this place in order to make allies.
However, there was someone who didn’t care about his ferocious gaze or his behavior as a noble. A slender man who was given that gaze said in response. His white face was wrapped in a black robe with gold trimmings.
「It’s for the sake of the nation, Sir Gilleage. Without the nation, your territories and privileges will be lost. To prevent that from happening, the only thing that matters is the concentration of military power. It’s not something you can’t understand.」
After hearing those words, the head of the Gilleage Family felt disgusted for a moment. This man’s words were so quiet that they seemed to echo in his throat. For a moment, the council hall was enveloped in silence.
The National Protector Jace Brackenberry. A person who held full authority over the military and boasted even greater influence in the political area.
However, he rarely appeared in the political area. His beliefs told him that the military and politics should be far apart from each other.
The fact that Brackenberry was showing up at the political center, in the famous council hall, was already an anomaly.
There was only one factor.
A group of magical beasts was appearing from the northwest. Brackenberry judged that it was an unmistakable threat that was increasing day by day.
He knew that it couldn’t be suppressed by the national army alone. It was a threat that even forced the nobles’ private armies to be deployed.
Of course, the private armies of these nobles were part of the national soldiers. The King gave the nobles territories and privileges, so the nobles had to serve the King by having soldiers, a measure taken to protect the King in special occasions.
Therefore, all nobles were obliged to gather their troops if there was an order from the King.
But strictly speaking, they were not part of the national army. The national army that Brackenberry had authority was, in other words, the private army under the direct control of the King. It was comprised of professional soldiers who were raised with government funding. He had no authority over the nobility’s private armies.
That’s why Brackenberry was here. To face a group of nobles full of vanity, hatred, and desire to step into the crucible. He came here to tame them.
「I conclude that the monsters in the northwest area are not to be underestimated, Sir. Calling soldiers one by one is the height of foolishness. I immediately propose the mobilization of all forces except for the guards. And I, as a commander and protector of the country, will bear all the responsibility.」
Brackenberry’s affirmations were absurd. Most of the nobles thought that the enemy was not that fearsome since it was just magical beasts.
After all, they were talking about irrational animals. It could be said that this was a common recognition for those who had a certain degree of rank. Magical beasts were a threat, of course, but they were no different from night thieves. With the right response, there would be nothing to fear. More importantly, the nobles thought that the military of other countries was much more heinous.
Therefore, just a few agreed with Brackenberry’s words. Especially when it came to senior aristocrats, this tendency was remarkable.
Among them, a man with a particularly large build waved his hands, and his voice echoed in the council hall.
「I agree with our National Protector Brackenberry. An army should be deployed when and where it is needed. Holding it in the backstage can turn it into a useless weapon.」
The owner of this voice was the senior aristocrat, Roymetz Fomor. When hearing those words, the council hall shook a little and made a noise.
As a senior aristocrat, the words of Roymetz, who had a large foothold in the political area, carried far more weight than those of other nobles.
Even the Gilleage Family, who were the main rivals of the Fomor Family, turned a blind eye to Roymetz’s words. Actually, the Gilleage Family was not at odds with Roymetz. On the contrary, there were times when they held hands. They even shared profits on a regular basis.
That’s because they understood what they were talking about. It was because of their trust in Roymetz, since he was not the kind of person who would say something foolish.
「…Lord Fomor. I’m going to insist on the right path. Why is it so vital that requires the dispatch of the entire army?」
Twisting the words out of his lips, the head of the Gilleage Family said so. It was hard to imagine that a man like Roymetz was just repeating the words of the Protector without prior consideration.
There must be some kind of speculation and calculation there. Humans, no, nobles, would not cease their calculations and conspiracies, even if the nation was in danger. Rather, it was because of such times that their calculations had to be sharp.
「The northwestern area is a land of Gharast Kingdom, but half of it is under the direct control of the Cathedral, and half of it is trampled under the feet of magical beasts. When it comes to the death snow, the national budget will continue to bleed in front of the rampaging magical beasts.」
Roymetz wielded his originally large body and spoke to the entire council hall. The verses of his words lit up with heat and naturally entered the ears of those around him.
This man often showed this kind of appearance in the political area. He excelled at capturing others’ sympathies rather than incite anger.
「Therefore, now is the time to kill the magical beasts and recover the lost land. Precisely because of the death snow, other countries won’t be able to make any major moves. I believe this is a good opportunity, Lord Gilleage.」
To recover the lost land. Those words were deeply ingrained in the hearts of Gharast officials, especially nobles. It had been engraved in their hearts since childhood. From their parents, from their teachers, from everyone around them.
The Gharast Kingdom was once a Great Empire. It swallowed up many kingdoms, tasted the delicious wine called prosperity, and all the glory and honor were at the maximum. The territory stretched from the west to the east.
The name of the Great Empire was…Altia. The Altia Unified Empire. A time when mankind was at its greatest.
However, glory and honor crumbled eventually.
After the Great First Emperor succumbed, the nation was divided, the territory was lost, and Gharast, the royal capital of Altia at the time, was reduced from an empire to a mere nation.
The Gharast nobles still could not forget that time.
Even if it was a long time ago, they were still the descendants of that great person. The idea that they were descendants of a supreme empire was ingrained in their souls.
Recover the lost land and eventually regain its former glory. That was the one principle shared by Gharast aristocrats. Of course, everyone understood that it was close to a dream story.
However, because of that, Roymetz’s words touched the hearts of the nobles. It certainly cost money. The death snow would be a huge expense.
However, what if there was a reward ahead? What if honor was given? Would not that be good?
Yes, the balance was about to tilt slightly. Nevertheless, there was someone disagreeing on the other side.
「…Please wait. I think the discussion is too hasty. If the matter is serious, we should be more cautiously.」
It was a woman’s voice. There was no trembling in her tone, but rather a voice that glared at the council hall itself. Although she was still young, she spoke with a dignified demeanor.
「Besides, everything is decided by His Majesty the King. We, as vassals, should not argue too much.」
That woman’s name was Olivia Belch. Despite being a high-ranking aristocrat, she was just the daughter of the Belch Family. This Family always showed a friendly attitude toward the Cathedral and even acquired external rights by the Cathedral’s direct jurisdiction.
She was still young, but there were two main reasons why she was able to enter and exit this very important place, and still behave with dignity.
One of them was her father, who was the original head of the Belch Family. He had been in bed for a long time, and she was the only person with the talent to manage the Family Estate. In that respect, she was excellent.
Nonetheless, no matter how good she was, the political area was such a crude place that someone with a weak foundation would not have a chance to speak. Besides, the elders hated the words of young people.
Yet, there was another reason for her willpower.
…Olivia was on friendly terms with the Saint Ariene.
The existence of a Saint still held great influence in the Gharast Kingdom. Even those who hated the ways of the Great Holy Church did not touch that point.
For this very reason, Olivia possessed the right to speak when she should’ve been silent. A bell-sounding voice reverberated through the council hall.
「…Your Majesty the King, what shall we do? 」
Everyone raised their heads upon hearing Olivia’s voice. The King was there, one step above the members of the council.
The pinnacle of the Gharast Kingdom. King Ameraitz Gharast. Deep creases could be seen in his long white hair.
King Ameraitz was revered as the reigning King, and in a single generation he reorganized the law, court system and inner control within the Gharast Kingdom. He was truly a wise man.
It was all a thing of the past now.
Was it the old age, or was it something else? The King’s sharp eyes turned dark and hazy, and he couldn’t tell what was in front of him. In that figure, one couldn’t see even a fragment of what he was when he was called the reigning King.
Everyone in the council fell silent in front of the old King. Everyone waited for the slowly hoarse voice to echo. The old King’s wrinkles were deep and carved on his skin.
When his name was called, Protector Brackenberry bowed his head respectfully. The old King continued his words while thinking for a moment.
「You will not leave the Royal Capital. You are the shield of the nation, think about your position. Assign half of the national army to the northwestern area to fight the magical beasts and assign the other half to protect the Royal Capital. If necessary, cooperate with the Lords. 」
That was all. The old King put his weight on the armrests as if to throw away all the arguments. It meant no more words were allowed to be spoken.
Thus, in this council hall, it was not allowed to discuss on the things that the King had made a judgment.
All aristocrats. Everyone down to Brackenberry bowed their heads. They swore to obey his words. Numerous speculations and reasons were now shattered here and there.
Only Olivia Belch drew a gentle line on her cheeks.
Who is this Olivia? …Ominous.
Thank you to the Patrons for the continued support!