Chapter 362: Those who Seek Deterrence
The focus fell on a specific room in the puppet city of Philos. It was a particularly small room among the several offices prepared for the members of the Heraldic Order to govern the city.
There was no need to store or write important documents in this room. It was enough to discuss some issues. So there was no problem in being a small room.
It would be different if it were meant for conferences. But since it was an informal conversation, its small space didn’t cause any inconvenience. In fact, if it were a conference, which was a formal event, a recording officer would’ve been present. However, as long as there was no formality, externally it would be nothing more than a trivial exchange of opinions.
Therefore, this place and its participants were not officially recorded.
One of the participants, who looked like an elderly man, opened his mouth in response.
「Nothing will happen. As long as his people and the Saint stand for him, there won’t be anyone who will face and oppose his ideals.」
The Queen of Ghazalia was not here to move her lips like she usually did. So the man continued his sentence without hesitation.
His shameless words seemed blunt, but this trait was the man’s usual attitude. And, unexpectedly, the man didn’t receive a bad evaluation from his surroundings.
In fact, being able to speak frankly was a rare talent. At the same time, he was an honest man who spoke with a logical reasoning. It didn’t matter if things were possible or not, since cutting them apart without any regards was his specialty.
Because of these abilities, he held the position of chief administrator and was in charge of the city of Philos. The white hair that could be seen slightly mixed in his black hair hinted at the hard work of a man who was able to bring together a chaotic city.
「…I understand. I will tell the Saint what she has to take into consideration. 」
After receiving those words from a young man nearby, the wrinkled old man nodded in satisfaction. The young man next to him swallowed his words with a little tension, though he didn’t show it in his expression.
The old man was named Saleino, a pivotal member of the Heraldic Order. He had been involved in the government affairs of the Heraldic Order even before the current Saint was born. He was the person who rebuilt the organizational foundation of the Heraldic Order that was on the verge of collapse.
He was originally a scholar, which wisdom and historical insight were astounding. His voice was still great even after he retired from that position. Right now, his role was more of an advisor to the Heraldic Order.
There was only one reason why this human, who should be called the Elder, had deep wrinkles and a stiff expression even when viewed from the side.
…The reason was Lugis’ behavior, the proud Hero of the Heraldic Order.
In short, Saleino seemed to be greatly dissatisfied with the current state of affairs. Of course, it wasn’t just him who was dissaisfied, but the majority of the Heraldic Elders.
There was something in Saleino’s voice that made him feel resentful.
Who was that hero? What kind of person was he?
Saleino heard the irritating voices from his fellow elders many times over. Who was that human who pulled the Saint’s hand?
Actually, Saleino heard that the young man named Lugis was just an adventurer at first. He had no idea of his origin or bloodline. He was someone of a doubful origin.
At some point, he joined hands with the Heraldic Order. That’s how he became an ally, and later the Hero of the Heraldic Order. Moreover, it was bestown upon him not only the glory but the authority of the Heraldic Order.
It was rather incredulous from the point of view of the elders who had been part of the foundation of the Heraldic Order since ancient times. What would they say to a young man who didn’t even know the rules and laws of the foundation?
Of course, in the process, Saint Matia gave permission for his acceptance in the organization, but it was another story if she accepted everything immediately. Whether it was done with knowledge or not, it would not be that easy to reach emotional consent within the members of the organization.
Saleino wondered what it would be like for a Saint of the Heraldic Order, who valued intelligence and reason, to be swayed by emotions. As long as it was an organization created by human beings, such things couldn’t be totally avoided. The old man understood that there was no human being who could throw away all its emotions.
「In the assembly hall, there was some talk of a direct interference with the Gharast Kingdom. What were the details?」
A deep voice that pressed against withered trees. It was the voice of an old woman who still had something strong in her tone. Her voice greatly resounded in the room. She may be sixty years old now, but there was still a strange vigor in her eyes.
She, too, had plenty of thoughts about the actions of the person named Lugis. The air in the room was compressed for a moment by that deep, irritating voice.
「This is where stands Saint Matia. She’s currently visiting the Lord Hero. I think it will be better if we can settle the matter by the end of the night. It’s the same with Prison Beulah.」
A young voice, unusual for this type of place, quickly answered to that question. The old woman nodded and showed her breath.
It seemed that the old woman was still in a state of resentment. A fairly old man shook his gray hair and sighed without much noise.
Lugis’ despotic behavior never ceased to arouse the emotions of the elders.
Nobody cared how he acted when he was still a collaborator. Adventurers always liked to act according to their dogmas.
The adventurers never tried to understand the roots of an organization. They were people who didn’t follow orders, since they wanted to make their own decisions. Therefore, the elders could tell that the person named Lugis was a former adventurer.
However, the Heroes of the Heraldic Order, or those carring the Golden crests, had to behave differently. Or else they’d being in trouble. That was the honest opinion of Saleino and the other elders.
Lugis mustn’t act alone or act arbitrarily as a member of the organization. His actions opposed the ideals of the Heraldic Order, which valued intelligence and reason. The organization wouldn’t be maintained if every member behaved like Lugis.
It was certainly the right words. It made sense.
However, at the end it was just a pretense. What the elders were really worried about was something else. Something that had to do with frivolity.
At the end of the day, the elders were worried that Lugis would continue to accumulate success and glory, and as a result, he could become the absolute monarch of the Heraldic Order. In other words, the elders feared that their authority would be stripped away.
Despite that, Saleino was probably the only exception. He was a monster of the Heraldic ideals and doctrines. He had the talent to build an organization from the ground and the ambition to elevate it to a higher level. Still, his ideals outweighed his ambition. He was that kind of person.
That’s probably why he believed that Lugis would follow the tyrannical route. At any rate, the Heraldic Order was currently in a situation where it was still half-affirmed to the world.
Currently, the Heraldic Order didn’t have a mechanism to stop the people supported by Saint Matia and Queen Eldith. As long as they protected Lugis, no one would dare to stop him.
It would be easy if the person they protected was just an ordinary person. The elders would’ve made their voices heard without any problems.
However, that person was everything but ordinary. For the elders it was a misfortune, but for the Heraldic Order, it was a joy. Lugis was an undeniable Hero. His track record was commendable. The elders couldn’t hide that fact.
From the point of view of ordinary believers, Lugis was nothing more than an object of reverence for leadership.
As long as victory and glory followed Lugis’ footsteps, saints and queens alike would gladly support him. No matter how many rules and vows were broken along the way.
Because of that background, even the elders couldn’t get their hands on Lugis that easily. Once they grabbed their bows, they would be shot dead the moment they hit him badly. It would be disastrous.
Therefore, their resentment didn’t appear on the surface, and it went behind the scenes like a hidden snake. Didn’t let anyone know, and didn’t let anyone guess.
So, how to keep him down? How to take power away from him? What kind of ending would be the best?
…But its still good now. It’s worth using. However, great heroes always leave their roots in trouble. If so, we must end those roots at the same time as we end the war.
There was a man in this meeting who understoond everybody’s common sense. The decapitated blade was to be discarded once there were no more prisoners on death row.
In fact, however, this man was not as assertive about his attitude towards Lugis as the elders around him.
No, in terms of reason, such a scheme was necessary. The bigger the force, the more deterrence it needed as an organization. Since he was not a genuine Heraldic believer, the amount of preparation had to be thorough in order to work.
Yet, emotionally speaking, this man didn’t feel uplifting about such actions.
The man understood his abilities. He couldn’t do that himself. That’s why careful planning was needed in order to decide whether it was possible or impossible. There was so much insight in this man.
Great deeds and folly were often the two sides of the same coin.
There were doubts, yet something hopeful appeared right at the same time. This man was at an age where his hair started to turn gray.
The exchange of opinions in this meeting was filled with words from people who lacked deterrence. Saleino was one of them.
Therefore, there was another central person taking part in this meeting. Rather, it was precisely because of her presence that it was possible to organize this exchange of opinions in the puppet city of Philos. She was someone who could move around without getting caught in the middle of the day.
Saleino moved his wrinkled lips and spoke to that central person.
「I would like to hear your opinion as well…Ann. Regarding this direct interference with the Gharast Kingdom, and the discussion to exterminate the magical beasts. How much of it is serious, and how much of it should be taken as negotiating material? 」
Largud Ann received Saleino’s unwavering gaze without quivering. In fact, she didn’t feel timid when facing this old man.
In her usual behavior, she said.
「They’re all serious. Surprisingly, he’s bad at lying. When it comes to wielding a sword, he swings it with a true heart. That’s the kind of person he is. 」
With a thin smile on her cheeks, Ann touched her chin and continued to speak.
「That’s why I’ll give him proper directions. His words will have the final say in the palm of my hands.」