Chapter 0272 Head of the Imperial Delegation
The city of Gilsbach, in the northwestern part of the Empire.
The former Emperor Rupert VI, who had abdicated, was currently residing there.
Fifty-five years old.
He had finally been freed from the paperwork that had been bogging him down for decades and was now living a life of leisure.
And now, Rupert seemed to be desperately trying to solve a problem at hand with a deep crease between his eyebrows and a grim look.
Sometimes he would grunt, for it was indeed a difficult problem.
Count Hans Kirchhoff, Rupert’s right-hand man, was sitting on the sofa across from him, drinking coffee without a care in the world.
Rupert exclaimed softly and moved his hand.
Hans moved his in response.
They both moved their hands back and forth…over a dozen times….
“Phew, I managed to bring it to a draw.”
“Nicely done, sir. I thought I could maintain my position to the end, but…what a shame.”
It was chess.
After a couple hundred games, Rupert had managed to pull out a draw from an overwhelmingly inferior position.
After the heavily contested game, Rupert drank his coffee with a satisfied look on his face.
“At any rate, I didn’t have Helmut pegged as someone that petty. To think he’d kick you out of the Imperial Castle without even giving you a chance. After going through the trouble of leaving you behind so he’d have one more capable hand.”
“It can’t be helped. Lord Helmut has his entourage. But thanks to that, I can be in the company of Your Majesty once more.”
“Well, I guess I should thank Helmut for that.”
Rupert smiled broadly as he said this.
The current emperor of the Empire is Helmut VIII, Rupert’s eldest son.
Rupert had no interest in cloistered ruling*, so he gave up the imperial throne and left Helmut in charge of all the affairs of the Empire, and he was now in a comfortable retirement. (TLN: Abdicating the throne but still retaining power and influence)
His daily routine includes playing chess with Hans, sword sparring with Hans, and occasionally messing around with magic.
In between these activities, he worked out, and as a result, he was in much better health than when he was on the throne, and his body was even more toned than when he was emperor.
“Speaking of which, I heard that Helmut is planning to send Konrad to represent the Empire.”
“Yes, that seems to be the case. Lord Konrad now has his own dukedom and finally seems to be on the right track…”
Konrad, the third son of Rupert and the younger brother of Helmut VIII.
After Helmut ascended to the imperial throne, he and his other siblings were demoted to vassalage and established a dukedom.
“It was an invitation from the Western Church that prompted the mission to the western countries in the first place, was it not?”
“Yes, it was. A well-known party in the western countries came to deliver it. The Pope is being replaced for the first time in several decades, and this time marks the 100th generation. They want us to send a large delegation to coincide with the inauguration.”
When Rupert said that, Hans chuckled.
Then he asked.
“Your Majesty, you mean there’s more to this than meets the eye?”
“You bet there is. Plots like this usually have several angles in the works. Has the size and the escort already been decided on?”
“Yes, sir. A hundred civilian officials, escorted by about twenty Imperial Knights, and two hundred men from the Imperial Army.”
“I see…. With that much escort, I guess Helmut also thinks that there might be some problems on the way or at the destination.”
Hearing that, Rupert nodded his head slightly a few times as he said this.
“And yet, he’s sending Konrad over there…if that’s a plot…then that’s taking his little cheap tricks a tad too far.”
His soft murmur was just barely audible, even to Hans.
After a few moments of silent contemplation, Rupert said.
“Okay, I’ll represent the Empire.”
Hans must have been expecting that because he chuckled and shook his head.
After some haggling, Rupert got Emperor Helmut to approve his appointment as head of the delegation.
Helmut’s reluctance was noteworthy, but Rupert straight-up ignored it.
Then, the Empire announced to the Central Nations.
Saying, “The Empire will send a delegation to the Western countries. The delegation will be headed by the former emperor, Rupert VI”.
“His Majesty Rupert, didn’t see that one coming…”
Abel muttered in the King’s office.
On the sofa in front of him sat Marquis Heinlein, the Prime Minister, and Hugh McGrath, the Grand Master who would be the representative of the delegation that the Kingdom would send out this time.
Incidentally, Ryo was sitting on a chair in the corner of the room, quietly reading an alchemy-related book.
That’s his usual position when the sofa is occupied.
“Our previous intel revealed that they had decided on Duke Konrad of Elbe, brother of His Majesty Emperor Helmut…”
Even Marquis Heinlein let out a small sigh.
Even he, with his unrivaled intelligence network in the Central Nations, failed to intercept this information.
“Marquis Heinlein, by the way, who do you think is going to represent the Union?”
Making a reluctant face, Hugh attested.
“There has been no official announcement yet, but I’m pretty sure it will be His Majesty Roberto Pirlo, the former King of Capitone.”
“Ugh…. The man Lord Aubrey couldn’t kill…huh?”
Roberto Pirlo is sometimes referred to as ‘The Man Lord Aubrey Couldn’t Kill’ as the only surviving member of the Ten-Member Council.
Of course, his extraordinary capabilities are known throughout the Central Nations.
“Well, I guess we’re screwed any which way.”
“You shouldn’t be the one saying that, Your Majesty…”
Abel said carefreely, and Hugh countered, looking sterner than ever.
“A former emperor and a former king…while I, on the other hand, am just a grand master…safe to say, I’m way out of my depths here, am I not?”
Hugh said, shaking his head repeatedly.
“It’s all right. The Kingdom delegation has a secret weapon, the ‘Premier Duke’, lurking in its midst. If push comes to shove, he’s sure to be our best asset!”
“Are you planning on starting a war on the way…?”
Hugh shook his head again and again at Abel’s words.
It looks like the ride over is going to be a bumpy one.