Chapter 0267 The Western Countries
Conference room in the Exchange Hall.
The Imperial envoys were ushered in and seated.
Soon, a person from the Kingdom’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs began to explain.
“As previously informed, Duke Rondo and Marquis Heinlein will be here shortly as contact persons for the Kingdom. So, if you would please wait for a moment.”
As the person was about to return to their seat in the corner of the room, Fiona asked a question.
“I believe the Imperial Ministry of Foreign Affairs also requested in advance, but is it really impossible to have an audience with His Majesty the King after the negotiations are over?”
“Ah, Yes. We did put in the word, but we have not received any positive response from the Royal Castle…sorry about that.”
The person from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who answered choked on their words.
Perhaps they’re vulnerable to unexpected questions…or perhaps got carried away by Fiona’s good looks….
“Must be pretty bad…”
Oscar’s muttering was so faint that only Fiona, sitting next to him, could hear it.
Hearing this, Fiona also nodded her head.
A minute after the explanation.
The door to the conference room opened, which signaled the arrival of Duke Rondo and Marquis Heinlein.
The first to enter was Marquis Alexis Heinlein, who holds the position of Prime Minister of the Kingdom and is also known as a great noble of the South.
He is one of the principal backbones of the Kingdom, both in name and in reality.
A former captain of the Royal Knight Order, and was active during the ‘Great War’ between the Kingdom and the Union, earning him the nickname ‘The Demon’.
He is also known as an expert who has a great deal of weight in the Kingdom’s intelligence, and for this reason, he is watched closely by neighboring countries.
He is a man with no stone left unturned in terms of military, intelligence, political, and conspiracy strategies.
(What a formidable individual…)
Oscar thought as he watched Marquis Heinlein make his entrance.
Perhaps that was why he was a little slow to see Duke Rondo, who entered next.
But Fiona, who had been paying attention to Duke Rondo since before their arrival in the royal capital, immediately shifted her gaze.
And he noticed her catching her breath.
Perceiving this, Oscar also shifted his gaze to Duke Rondo, who had also entered….
His eyes widened like they were going to pop out.
“Why would he …”
The words leaked out unintentionally….
The words were barely audible to Fiona, who was sitting beside him, as it was seldom within perceptible range of human hearing.
But then, Fiona too.
Oscar managed to control his emotions.
However, it was an unexpected surprise and he really was on edge.
“Oh, hello, it’s been a while. I guess it’s been since the Kingdom Liberation Battle, where I cut off half your body.”
He was obviously bound to lose his temper, if such a thing was said to his face.
…If it had been in the past.
But with one deep, heavy, really deep breath, Oscar barely prevented his emotions from spiraling out of control.
Seeing this, Ryo was honestly a little impressed.
He wasn’t exactly trying to rile them up and mess up the negotiations.
He was just trying to stir things up a bit to annoy the obnoxious guy in front of him.
And to find out how effective it would be psychologically.
Instead, this obnoxious guy managed to control his emotions with one deep breath.
It was truly remarkable.
Oscar isn’t exactly Ryo’s favorite person in the world, but by no means does he have a low opinion of him.
If he had a low opinion of him in the first place, he would neither like nor dislike him….
And seeing him take those deep breaths made Ryo realize that he was evolving, which further improved his opinion of him.
Though his dislike for him hasn’t changed one bit.
Ryo and Marquis Heinlein took their seats and the negotiations began.
Nevertheless, the official envoy of the Empire had something to say.
“I didn’t expect you to be the premier duke, the so-called Duke of Rondo.”
“Is that so? It’s simply because the Duke of Rondo has the greatest military might in the Kingdom. That’s just about it. But more importantly, congratulations on your marriage.”
Ryo explained brazenly before smiling and congratulating Fiona, who also smiled and accepted his blessing.
Marquis Heinlein, who was listening to this with an impassive expression on his face, thought.
(Looks like Duke Rondo is also versed in stomach art*…) (TLN: Lit. 腹芸; expressing oneself without words or gestures.)
Typically, diplomatic negotiations between countries are worked out in advance at the bureaucratic level, and the final stage, where politicians and nobles come out, is simply the confirmation and conclusion of the treaty.
In other words, before gathering in the conference room, the contents to be discussed this time had already been discussed at the administrative level.
Therefore, it is not usual for new topics to come up at this stage that the other party does not know about, or for new proposals to be made….
“We have an additional proposal to the one you already have.”
As Fiona said this, the clerks from the Imperial Ministry of Foreign Affairs handed over the documents to the Kingdom representatives.
“Sending a delegation…?”
Marquis Heinlein muttered.
Hearing this, Fiona pressed on.
“The Empire will soon be sending a delegation to the Western countries. And if possible, we hope that the delegation includes not only representatives from the Empire, but also from other countries of the Central Nations. So, we would like to propose that the Kingdom also cooperate in sending representatives.”
This surprised not only Ryo but also Marquis Heinlein.
He hadn’t heard any chatter about such a move from the Empire.
(Why the Western Countries? And why now?)
Marquis Heinlein had no idea what was going on, and frankly, he was baffled.
With so little information to make a decision. The first order of business would be to gather intel.
“When you say other countries of the Central Nations, does this proposal also include the Union?”
“Yes. The proposal is being delivered to the Union right about now just as we speak.”
“And the size of this delegation…how many people is the Empire planning to send?”
“Excluding the guards, about a hundred from the Empire.”
“A hundred, just the civil servants alone…”
That’s quite a scale.
If the Kingdom and the Union were to form a delegation of the same size, the number of civilian officials alone would be three hundred….
Moreover, the destination is the Western Countries.
It would be a long journey, with a lot of difficult places to navigate.
Considering this, the size of the guard detail would also be substantial.
Including the guards, the number should run up to about a thousand total?
How are they going to feed that many people?
What about transportation?
“However, we are still in the proposal stage. If the Kingdom, the Union, and other parties are willing to consider it, we’re sure that we will be able to work out the details.”
Ryo’s heart was stirring up as he listened to the conversation.
Needless to say, he was interested in the ‘Western Countries’.
His main interest was, of course, the ‘Golem Corps’
He once heard that a certain country in the Western Countries has such a thing.
And he would love to see it!
However… Ryo had no idea what the so-called ‘Western Countries’ was like!
Not to brag, but not a damn clue!
(I’ll ask Abel later.)
A premier duke who treats His Majesty the King as a handyman.
Just where was the order of the country….
Two days later.
Negotiations between the Empire and the Kingdom took place.
Besides the ‘Delegation to the Western Countries’, there were several other issues to be discussed.
It seems that when countries share a border, problems arise on a daily basis from just that…
Then, on the evening of the last day, the entire itinerary came to an end.
The faces of the foreign affairs and economic officials of both countries were heavily fatigued.
Naturally, they’d been under extreme tension, not only for the past two days, but in the month leading up to this meeting…since these two days were the culmination of the pent-up tension over the month, they couldn’t afford to be lax.
Compared to them, the four top officials from both countries were at ease…basically sitting there looking grumpy and just saying the necessary words at the appropriate time…especially in this case, the deals were all like that.
Or maybe it was because the Duke of Rondo, who was not accustomed to such heated exchanges, was put in charge of the negotiations on the Kingdom side…or maybe not….
At any rate, the agenda was somehow finalized.
“Thank you for your hard work over the past the two days. By the way, there is a guest who would very much like to meet the representatives of the Empire. He would like to say hello to everyone, so I’m going to invite him in.”
Ryo said with a straight face.
Fiona asked quizzically.
Oscar just frowned and said nothing.
“Please, come in!”
Ryo said deliberately, the door opened and a man walked in gallantly.
The moment Ryo said, “Come in”, everyone on the Kingdom side stood up.
The person who walked in was King Abel I of the Kingdom of Knightley.
There was not the slightest sign of illness, and he looked even younger and more dignified than when they had met him on the battlefield.
After a moment’s pause, all the representatives from the Imperial side, including Fiona and Oscar, stood up.
“Dear Imperial envoys, thank you for coming to the Kingdom. I apologize for only greeting you now. I was caught up in some circumstances and had my hands full.”
It was a lie.
His Majesty the King simply took up the offer of the premier duke, a certain water-attribute magician, to give them a shocking surprise at the end of their visit.
Which he did splendidly.
Both Fiona and Oscar managed to hide their surprise, but the other Imperial envoys were caught with their pants down.
The intel saying ‘King Abel is seriously ill’ was considered common knowledge among the upper echelons of the Empire.
Only to find the person in question, looking all dashing and energetic, of course, they would look befuddled.
At the very end of the ‘negotiations’, it was a sweeping victory for the Kingdom.
Needless to say, it was a mental victory, not a real one….