|Author: Kisasaki Suzume||Original Source: Syosetu|
|Translator: Mui||English Source: Re:Library|
Maltgartz had a long history and had always been a big nation, but its current form emerged relatively recently. Emperor Richard Demitris Arnia Maltgartz, once a valiant warrior king, brought together two major nations and eleven smaller states to establish the present Maltgartz Empire, which possessed four potent Regalia.
The decision to leave the “Dragon of Kugutfulm” undisturbed was strategic, as it allowed Maltgartz to engage in wars without concern for potential southern invasions, but that was a story for another time.
Despite facing internal strife and the risk of fragmentation, Emperor Richard’s unwavering strength always triumphed, resulting in a united nation under his imperial rule.
Maltgartz transformed into a centralized superpower, with the grand city of Dialmalt serving as its new capital, meticulously built from scratch. The previous capital in the southeastern region (once known as the kingdom’s capital and sometimes still referred to as the ‘Royal Capital,’) was succeeded by this new capital about thirty years ago.
The Imperial Palace, a stunning white alabaster structure of unparalleled magnificence, served as the Emperor’s residence and the epicenter of Maltgartz’s governance, a colossal edifice that could easily dwarf entire cities.
And within the heart of this Imperial Palace, at its very core…
“How could you allow such acts of barbarism!”
The gathering took place in the esteemed chamber known as the “Meteor Hall,” where the Emperor and the empire’s highest-ranking officials convened to make critical decisions regarding the nation’s course.
The room was adorned with a lavish display of opulence, and at its center was an imposing desk that seemed capable of crushing any foes if tossed at them from the castle walls.
The man who struck the desk with forceful determination was Cain Arnia.
Cain, the Crown Prince of Maltgartz and the firstborn of the current Emperor possessed a commanding presence with broad shoulders and a martial aura.
Though he had surpassed fifty years in age, Cain’s extensive experience in both warfare and statecraft made him a potential successor to the throne, to lead Maltgartz as Emperor upon his father’s passing.
…Yes, upon passing.
However, while Richard remained alive, Cain’s status was solely that of the Crown Prince. Even within this council meeting, he did not hold any special privileges—the Emperor alone possessed such distinctions.
“When did our once great nation bow to the Demon Lord’s influence and become pawns of darkness? Victory in battle is paramount, but if we forsake the human world for it, we shall make enemies of all! The conduct of successor Marquis Angus was against the interests of our nation and humanity! Attacking Setulev Palace without authorization and seizing the Regalia was a grave mistake! No! We failed to prevent it! You, driven by the allure of immediate triumph, silenced prudent voices, leading to the unchecked actions of that man!” Cain roared with spit flying out.
His forceful words echoed through the chamber, causing even the vigilant imperial guards to flinch under the weight of his speech.
Cain’s accusation focused on the incident involving Julian Angus’ unauthorized assault on Setulev, which was allowed and manipulated.
Laying hands on another nation’s Regalia was a taboo in the human world, and it carried diplomatic risks, resembling a deceitful ambush. Even if the victim was considered a minor nation, such actions were perilous. Despite the current conflicts within the human realm, their official stance was unity against the looming demon threat.
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The recent meeting had reached a decision to let Julian act freely for a short period before intervening to resolve the situation. And now, this was the outcome—Julian’s aggressive attack on Kugutfulm, attempting to harness the power of the Regalia to turn the tide and actively destroy the nation. Had he succeeded it would’ve been one thing, but now that he went and lost, it was a disastrous result for Maltgartz.
Naturally, Cain, who had been cautious about using Julian, was furious. Yet, in the face of Cain’s outburst, the old man with deeply wrinkled and stern features remained unperturbed, calmly absorbing the emotion.
“Well, you certainly have some peculiar remarks. It is true that there were cautious opinions expressed here. However, that individual offered nothing more than voiced concerns without presenting any viable alternatives… I recall that my opinion that ‘Asking Setulev for forgiveness could fatally dampen domestic morale,’ was also met with an agreement from them. Now, who was it again…? Ah, memory tends to wane at this age…”
With a refined demeanor, Manuel Weaver Gantrea, the Imperial Chancellor and essentially the second-in-command in Maltgartz, openly expressed his disdain, thinly veiled in sarcasm. He had been the Emperor’s trusted advisor for many years.
Manuel’s remarks only served to further enrage Cain.
“You should have had the foresight to find a compromise while maintaining our dignity! There were plenty of opportunities to secure a favorable draw with the Gufare Union. But because you failed to do so, our country’s morale and stability have been weakened, and we find ourselves on the brink of disaster!”
“Ah, the wisdom of hindsight. It’s easy for anyone to become a renowned strategist when analyzing the battlefield after the fact. But dwelling on the past won’t change our current situation. What we should focus on is the future. It is, undoubtedly, the will of His Majesty the Emperor to defeat the Gufare Union, who made unreasonable demands on our country, and demonstrate the might of Maltgartz.”
“You are shameless enough to utter those words…”
The upper echelons of Maltgartz found themselves entangled in a fierce and enduring conflict, often referred to as the “weaponless civil war.” The divide between the Chancellor faction and the Crown Prince faction extended beyond major national policies to mundane matters like the dinner menu.
While this rivalry had been a longstanding issue, the current heated debate revolved around Julian’s actions. The Chancellor faction had allowed Julian to act independently, seeking to gain advantages from his actions, while the Crown Prince faction voiced opposition but was ultimately overruled.
However, describing the Crown Prince faction as merely moderate would be an oversimplification. In truth, they were leveraging the nation’s weariness from the prolonged war, using their position as a card in the power struggle within the court.
“Silence! You are in His Majesty the Emperor’s presence!” The captain of the imperial guards intervened, slamming the butt of his spear against the floor to put an end to the seemingly endless argument between the two.
Although he had no right to participate in the discussion itself, he was authorized to quell disputes. The stone tiles on the floor bore witness to his intervention, slightly denting the force of his action.
As the sound of the spear echoed through the room, it roused a figure from its slumber. Slowly, the heavy-set, elderly man raised his head. Seated on an elevated throne at the back of the room, he was dressed in opulent garments adorned with gold and silver embroidery.
This man was Emperor Richard, the ruler of Maltgartz. His second name, Demitris, not only symbolized his absolute authority to the conquered people but also served as a tribute to the Sage Demitris, who had been his political mentor.
In his youth, Richard was renowned for his unparalleled martial prowess, fearlessly leading armies and displaying exceptional skill with his sword. As time went by, he showcased his political acumen, skillfully governing the vast empire and bringing prosperity to his realm.
Now, as the Emperor of Maltgartz, he sat on the throne, overseeing the largest nation in the human world.
“……I…” With a heavy voice akin to a wind blowing into a cavern, Richard spoke.
“O-Ohhh… I….. feel hungry,” he stammered, irritation evident as he banged the armrest of the throne like an agitated ape with his trembling hands.
“Why, why is this happening?! Why is my breakfast delayed! The Emperor… hungry… unthinkable! What is the chef doing?! Unforgivable! Off with his head!”
“Your Majesty, please, calm your anger!”
“Ah, breakfast… agh, cough, cough…”
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Struggling to catch his breath, Richard coughed, the exertion taking its toll.
Beyond the window, the afternoon sun started to transform into a golden sunset.
“Prepare breakfast! The Emperor will leave the room! Everyone, kneel!”
With a clattering of chairs, the entire assembly rose and knelt down, bowing their heads in reverence.
In the midst of it all, Richard was assisted by the captain of the imperial guard as he exited the chamber.
Maltgartz was governed by a cleverly designed system in which the Emperor held immense power. The Emperor’s authority took precedence in all matters, and there were no provisions to undermine or neglect their rule. Richard himself crafted this system to ensure that no one could wrestle power away from him during his lifetime.
…There was no mechanism in place to deal with an aging and senile Emperor on the throne.
The imperial council meeting concluded, leaving the participants with a sense of exhaustion. But that was already an everyday occurrence.
Accompanied by a small group of loyal followers, Manuel strode confidently through the grand yet rarely traversed corridor deep within the imperial palace.
“Send the cabbage that became the head chief last night to the guillotine. I leave the corpse to the executioner.”
“Understood. We shall toss the body into the pot and dispose of it. Shall we appoint someone else in his place, perhaps a carrot?”
“Yes, that will do.”
The Emperor’s commands were absolute.
If they were the kind of orders where nothing would change whether you obeyed or not, it was better to just obey.
“I wonder what lies ahead for our nation…”
“I cannot say, but one thing is certain—this country is bound to crumble.”
In response to his subordinate’s musings, Manuel offered a dispassionate reply, as if detached from any emotions.
Manuel had once been a conscripted farmer from a kingdom that the Maltgartz ‘Kingdom’ initially conquered under Richard’s reign. Through bravery and numerous achievements, he climbed the ranks in the Maltgartz army. He acquired wealth, followers, titles, and territories, ultimately securing a position second only to the Emperor.
“But if that is the case, there are still ways to handle this situation. I do not need a country that is beyond my reach. However, when it shatters and crumbles, it might just come within my grasp.”
Gripping the beam of light streaming in through a grand window, a hand that had once wielded a sword displayed its undiminished strength, the deep wrinkles bearing testimony to its imposing history and weight
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