Sorry for the late release! Busy IRL moving house at the moment. Should be back to normal soon.
Chapter 0180 Return to home country
“Your Excellency, I have a few matters to report!”
Lamber’s expression was dark.
There were some ill reports.
“Speak. Did you find the Duke of Inbury’s corpse?”
“No… Last night, there were reports that an Imperial flying battleship was spotted near the City of Fion flying towards the Kingdom-Union border.”
Lord Aubrey couldn’t help but be surprised by that.
Lord Aubrey knew that the Empire has a huge battleship that floats in the air.
He had unverified information that even the Empire could only construct one such ship because it uses a huge magic stone from an Ancient Dragon, but the fact is that it is treated as a very valuable ship even in the Empire.
If the battleship flew from the City of Fion, there could only be one possible reason.
“The Duke of Inbury sought refuge in the Empire …”
He had considered the Duke seeking asylum in the Empire.
However, he judged that it would be impossible.
The reason being the means of transportation to the Empire.
Even if he chose to seek asylum in the Empire, it would have to be after he gained asylum in the Kingdom first.
However, the situation that unfolded exceeded his expectations.
The Empire, or rather the Emperor, chose to send his valuable flying battleship to the battlefield.
Moreover, it was a battlefield that had nothing to do with the security of his empire.
“The Emperor’s wisdom is truly terrifying. I accepted that I couldn’t compete in politics, but … I don’t think he would surpass me even on the battlefield.”
The corner of his mouth raised and he muttered to himself.
“Now the Empire has an excuse to intervene in the Union at any time. It would be hard to make use of the Duke of Inbury, but with his two daughters …”
The words in the second half were not audible to Lamber.
“Ah, Lamber, I guess that isn’t the only report?”
“Yes. The other report is about the adventurers of the Kingdom. They have already left the Fion Plains. Although we have not received any reports of them crossing the border yet …”
“I see. They are thorough in their actions once they deem that any further participation in the war is futile. It would be best if they leave as soon as possible. I don’t wish to lose more of my soldiers by poking them unnecessarily.”
The occupation policy begins now.
They must devote their strength to maintaining security.
The loss of a soldier would be one too many.
“Sigh … War is truly a foolish solution. Nobody wants to go to war.”
Lord Aubrey, the man called ‘The Great General’, denial of the war surprised Lamber as well.
“What? Did you think I started a war because I like it?”
Lord Aubrey frowned and looked at Lamber.
“No, not to that point … but, not only Your Excellency, but also the military personnel gain contribution in the war to advance in rank …”
“Well, that’s true. But think about it for a moment. You’re sending your subordinates who you raised by hand to death? Once they die, the time, effort, and so on that you’ve spent up to that point will disappear. Can you bear to see your precious subordinates die in front of you?”
Lord Aubrey asked Lamber with a straight face, not in a joking manner.
“That would certainly … hurt.”
“The ones who want to go to war are the ones who have never stood on the battlefield. Bureaucrats and politicians. Well, Lamber is a bureaucrat and I’m a politician.”
Lord Aubrey laughed ironically.
“Win without fighting. That’s the best victory. Our Union still has not recovered from the damages ten years ago. I wish I could solve political issues without resorting to war … but it’s quite difficult.”
Even now, ten years later, the influence of the ‘Great War’ weighed heavily on the Union.
The next day.
The Handal Union declared the annexation of the Inbury Duchy to the Central Nations.
It was annexation, not colonization, and the former Inbury Duchy citizens had the same rights as Union citizens.
Moreover, they proclaimed that the former Inbury Duchy will retain its laws for the next decade and that the amount of tax paid will be the same as when it was the Duchy.
In other words, for the people who live in the Duchy, nothing had changed, only the person they paid tax to.
In addition, for aristocrats who have territories in the Duchy, if they show their intention to return within a month, the Union will recognize their territories as before. However, the taxes collected by the aristocrats will be channeled to the Union.
The now leader-less land that has been occupied by the Union was divided among the Ten-member Council according to the power they hold.
However, the Duchy capital would be under the direct control of the Union Government.
Those contents were transmitted to the entire Duchy.
The Union, which has become their new ruler, did not seem to intend to maliciously oppress the people.
That was good news for many people.
Many fled to other countries before or during the war.
However, those who were destitute or had physical disabilities could not leave the country, even though they feared for their safety.
There were certain requirements even to become a refugee …
By the end of the month, many people had begun to embrace the Union’s rule.
It was only after crossing the border that the Kingdom adventurers on their way back from the Inbury Duchy were able to release their tension.
A field directly in front of Red Post, the city on the eastern border of the Kingdom.
“All things said and done, I didn’t play an active role in the war at all.”
A certain Water-Attribute Magician muttered.
“No, Ryo was unrivaled in your scouting ability.”
Abel, who was next to Ryo, commented.
“No, you know, I wanted to do some very flashy magic and blast the enemies! I practiced so hard as a Magician after all.”
A mere Swordsman could not understand the wishes of a Magician after all.
However, there was a person who responded to Ryo’s words.
“That’s right! I understand. I understand~!”
While saying that, the one who nodded many times was Rin, the Wind-Attribute Magician.
Warren, a Shield-bearer, walked next to her.
“I want to sweep them away with magic! Or mow them down!”
Rin nodded and exclaimed.
Warren nodded silently next to her.
Ryo shook hands with them firmly.
“Ah, yeah, I see …”
Abel said as he looked away from not only Ryo but also about half of his party agreeing with Ryo.
Ryo recalled that he still had questions after Abel mentioned ‘scouting’.
Ryo was able to locate the Duke of Inbury’s hiding spot because of his <Passive Sonar>.
But that was because they were hiding near the city.
However, the princess of the Empire and that Explosive Blaze Magician appeared there as well.
How were they able to pinpoint his location after coming from the Empire?
It was a mystery to Ryo.
The City of Red Post was still full of people.
That night, like when they came by previously, they camped outside the city and the expeditionary forces would be disbanded there tomorrow.
Rewards and other matters would be paid after returning to their respective cities.
Basically, after that, the adventurers would separate into each region of the north, south, east, west, and central, but since there were parties that stopped at various towns on the way, the forces would disband there on paper.
While traveling in the former Inbury Duchy, the expeditionary force did not have time to relax.
Only by returning to the Kingdom, they were finally able to take a break.
Due to the flood of immigrants from the city, excessive drinking was prohibited to avoid trouble, but moderate drinking was allowed.
After marching through the Inbury Duchy, the expeditionary forces had a lively night, as drinking was finally permitted.
Ryo is the type who likes alcohol but cannot drink much.
In the first place, he was still a minor on Earth, so he never drank.
Therefore, the alcohols Ryo was familiar with were those from 『Phi』.
Ale is the mainstream, but beer is also increasingly common recently.
An intoxicated Ryo was drinking self-created water at a distance from the party banquet to get rid of his drunkenness.
<Passive Sonar> was completely switched off because there were many people in addition to him being drunk.
Still, he sensed someone approaching.
“It’s been a long time, Ryo-san.”
Appearing with a nostalgic voice was Gecko, a merchant of the former Inbury Duchy.
Ryo originally sought employment to transport the supplies until Red Post and continued traveling with the expedition forces after his supplies were consumed because he was concerned about Gecko’s safety.
Needless to say, he was pleased when he appeared in front of him.
“Gecko-san. I’m glad you’re safe.”
The feelings of joy and relief in that voice made Gecko happy.
“It looks like I made you worry … I’m okay. As you can see, I’m full of life.”
Then, for some reason, he bent his right arm at a right angle to flex his bicep.
Was that expression common on 『Phi』?
Ryo tilted his head internally but didn’t show it in his expression.
“Yes. I met the kids and Sharfi on the way. They were on their way to Rune and Acre.”
“I’m aware. I’ve been in contact with Sharfi from time to time. Those who accompanied me to this country will continue to work under Gecko Knightley trading company.”
Even if the country is destroyed, business must continue.
That’s because he was responsible for the employees and their families who work there and the customers who are waiting for the goods and services.
However, Ryo noticed that there was a curious word in the previous explanation.
“Did you say ‘Those who accompanied me to this country’?”
“Oh, yes. My older brother runs a trading company in the Handal Union. In fact, apart from that, I separated the Inbury trading company. My younger brother will set up a trading company in the Kingdom of Ju. Also, to the north of the Kingdom of Ju, my youngest brother will launch a trading company in the Emirate of Kew.”
(It’s like the Rothschilds …)
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the German banker Mayer Amschel Rothschild had five sons. The five were split up and sent to five cities, Frankfurt, Vienna, London, Naples, Paris and Europe, and sometimes cooperated across countries with great success.
From the nineteenth century to the twentieth century, the Rothschilds family, who are said to rule the world from the shadows, flourished in that generation of five.
In Bordeaux’s first growth rating for red wine, ‘Chateau Lafitte Rothschild’ and ‘Chateau Mouton Rothschild’ are included in the five major ‘Chateaus’, and that ‘Rothschild’ is the same family.
(Yes, Mouton was my dad’s favorite wine. Even though he couldn’t drink a single drop of alcohol … ‘Premier je suis, Second je fus, Mouton ne change.’ The only French phrase my dad knew.)
“First, I am. Second, I used to be. Mouton does not change.”
Ryo’s mutter was too soft to reach Gecko’s ears.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I was just recalling something, but I’m glad you’re safe.”
As he thought before, Ryo remembers his father when he sees Gecko.
Their appearances were completely different, but something … was it the air around them?
Maybe that was the reason he remembered Mouton’s French phrase.
There, Ryo saw the two people behind Gecko.
One was Gecko’s escort captain Max. He could understand that.
But the other one was…
Yes, the other was Cohn, the C-rank adventurer in the Inbury Duchy, who escorted His Highness Prince Willy of the Kingdom of Ju together with Ryo.
“Hey, Ryo, it’s been a long time.”
“Why are Cohn-san and Gecko-san together?”
They are indeed both from the former Inbury Duchy, but … they shouldn’t have known each other.
Even when they passed each other in the royal castle in the Duchy, they didn’t say hello …
“Oh, a lot of things happened. I got picked up.”
Cohn replied, scratching his head.
“Cohn-san was also moving toward the Kingdom of Knightley, so I asked for his escort until then. The security in the eastern part of the Kingdom is not good.”
That was probably the official explanation, but there seemed to be many other reasons.
However, it would be insensitive to ask such a thing.
There are many things in the world that you shouldn’t ask. Ryo had also learned a lot from his social experiences.
“Are you going to conduct business mainly in the south?”
Both Rune and Acre, where the children were headed, were in the southern part of the Kingdom.
It was natural for Ryo to ask. He just said that the eastern region is unsafe.
“Well, that’s my intention. Of course, I have to get the feudal lord’s permission … Because both His Excellency Margrave Rune and His Excellency Heinlein, who controls Acre, are wise lords … those cities are much better than the others.”
Gecko replied with a smile.
Ryo didn’t know what kind of person Margrave Rune was, even though he lived in the City of Rune.
Occasionally he appeared in conversations with Sera, as she lives in the lord’s manor, but from every word he could tell that Sera respects the lord.
Although she broke the future lord’s shoulder and stabbed him with a sword …
“It seems that there are many difficult parts in the entire Kingdom, but it is stable in the southern region. That is the best place to set up a base.”
With that as a trigger, the princess of the Empire and the Fire-Attribute Magician came to Ryo’s mind.
Why were they able to appear in that place at that time?
The answer suddenly flashed in his head. He had gathered enough information.
“That was arranged by Gecko-san …”
He regretted it immediately after he said those words.
Even after thinking about it, those words were better left unspoken.
And Gecko also stood silently with his index finger in front of his mouth.
Don’t say it.
And he smiled slightly.
Yes, the cave where the Duke of Inbury hid. That was not easy to prepare.
However, if it was a merchant with Gecko’s influence … In fact, it wouldn’t be possible to prepare without his influence.
Gecko knew that the Duke of Inbury was hiding there.
In other words, he was in a position to leak it to the Empire.
And he didn’t want the Duke of Inbury to seek asylum in the Kingdom.
Because the Kingdom is unsafe … a sign of deteriorating governance.
Deteriorating governance meant less political stability … what would happen if the Duke of Inbury and his family became refugees there?
At the very least, they couldn’t hope for a happy future.
Then what about the Empire?
Of course, they would be used politically.
In the future, they may be a puppet to raise the flag and invade the Union.
But at least they won’t be killed.
The Emperor is not so short-sighted.
Of course, it was not the best choice. But when the country was destroyed, there was no best choice.
As such, the better choice was the final choice.
So Gecko proposed to the Empire.
He just suggested.
After all, the Duke of Inbury had the final say to choose to go to the Empire.
He chose the Empire after weighing the Kingdom and the Empire for himself and his family.
The choice could be made because of Gecko’s arrangement and the Empire’s quick action to accept them.
Without Gecko’s arrangements, they would have no choice but to go to the Kingdom.
The death of a country also meant that many people will be unhappy.
But even after the downfall, there were still people working for the country and the people who symbolize it.
Ryo’s head naturally lowered.
“No, Ryo-san. It’s not like you have to bow your head.”
Gecko called out with a somewhat flustered voice. And continued.
“It’s been ten years since we achieved complete independence. We knew that we were being targeted by the Union. We tried to organize the nation as much as possible … but we couldn’t make it in time. Of course, I am just a merchant. I can’t compare to those who served selflessly in the core of the country.”
Gecko said with a slightly sad expression, looking back on his memories of the past.
“I guess the people who remain in the country will have a hard time from now on.”
Ryo commented with concern.
But Gecko slowly shook his head a little and said.
“The Union’s Lord Aubrey is a talented man. He has strong tendencies and does not shy from any means to achieve his goals, but he is not one who will oppress the townspeople so…”
Gecko cut off his words there.
They might be able to live a better life than when they were citizens of the Inbury Duchy … it was something he didn’t want to say.
Gecko’s caravan would travel around several cities of the Kingdom, eventually aiming for the City of Rune and Acre.
Ryo split up from Gecko and others, with a promise of a reunion in Rune.
Ryo, who was now feeling better, tried to return to the banquet but looked back.
Gecko wasn’t his only visitor that day.
“Ryo, let’s have a little talk.”
Standing in the moonlight was a beautiful woman with black horns and a black tail.
An opponent Ryo could never forget.
The Akuma Leonor.
Before writing, Ryo and his party regained the Duchy capital, expelled the Union, and the Duchy remained independent.
But when I started writing, it didn’t happen.
The changed content will be connected in various ways in the future ….
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