The Northern Continent, Holy Leburan Empire.
In the center of the Empire’s immense territory, situated on a large plain, was the capital city Habahren which boasted a total population of 80,000 people. The city was built in a circular configuration where all the main roads led to the palace of the Emperor.
In the center of the city stood the royal palace, Siguenza.
Due to it having been built as a fortress during the era of the original Leburan Empire, the palace was more of an austere structure instead of an elegant one.
There was a certain room in the palace that acted as the emperor’s study.
The chandelier hanging from the ceiling was a gorgeous centerpiece that illuminated the study in a way that befitted an emperor’s abode.
A large, polished work desk sat in the back of the room, in front of a throne reserved for the ruler of the country. Though the throne wasn’t as exquisite as the room’s other furnishings, a careful inspection of its rigid construction would reveal its true value.
The young man leaning back on the throne had a head of red, slightly curly hair that had been tied back into a braid and his lean body was adorned in a plain military uniform.
His name was Domitianus Leburan Valetiafelbe. He was the emperor of the Holy Leburan Empire that was vying for supremacy against the Great Leburan Empire.
The gray eyes of the young emperor were scrutinizing the man currently reading a recent report aloud.
“According to the report, the 『Ring of Submission』 that was attached to the monster held in Leibnitz’ fort suddenly deactivated and it went on a rampage. A considerable amount of damage had been done to the old city district. Before it’s rampage, the hydra that Funoba-sama caught broke out of the fort, through the city gate and attacked the lord’s mansion, which resulted in the lord’s death. Funoba-sama has not been seen since then and there are rumors he has rebelled.”
Contrary to the serious subject matter written on the report, the speaker of the report had a large smile on his face as he watched the emperor grimace behind his desk.
The man who gave the report was slightly overweight, had a poor excuse of a mustache on his face and was dressed in flashy clothes befitting a wealthy merchant.
This man was Verumoas Du Laizehl, the chancellor of the Holy Leburan Empire.
Emperor Domitianus looked at the shady looking Verumoas and thought over the contents of the report before he opened his mouth.
“I do not believe that Funoba has rebelled…… Men of the frontier are only concerned with women and liquor, right? There would be no benefit for him in opposing me.”
Without changing his expression in the slightest, Verumoas tilted his head and motioned as if to say ‘Even if you ask me…’.
Without acting the slightest bit concerned about the vein on the emperor’s forehead that threatened to burst due to his behavior, Verumoas looked down at the report in his hands and continued.
“The hydra was apparently slain in the middle of its rampage by a mysterious monster that appeared out of nowhere. According to the witnesses, the mysterious monster appeared to be a humanoid demon cloaked in flames that has been mentioned in the local folklore. According to legends, the beast only appears to drag sinners into the inferno. Naturally, unrest is running rampant throughout the populace.”
“This devil managed to kill the hydra!? Fuck, the 『Ring of Submission』used on that thing had to be custom made…… If it hadn’t been for Funoba it would have been difficult to capture……”
Emperor Domitianus hit his armrest in irritation and glared at chancellor Verumoas, who continued his report.
“Even if you look at me like that, there’s nothing I can do about it. Anyway, the Hiruku church was destroyed by the hydra’s and the mysterious devil’s battle. Representatives of the church have stepped forward and demanded the funds necessary to rebuild it. ……The citizens are anxious at the fact that the devil was the one who burnt the church down.”
Verumoas raised his head to watch the emperor’s reaction to that last bit of information.
However, the vein that had been threatening to burst had vanished and the emperor was floating a twisted smile on his face.
“Humph, the church has been a mere parasite for quite some time…… What became of the monsters that entered the city?”
“After the hydra was slain, a commander that had remained on site gathered the scattered soldiers and proceeded to slay them. The situation has calmed down, but it’s only a matter of time before dissatisfaction sprouts among the citizens.”
Feeling doubtful about the emperor’s behavior, Verumoas looked up again to find him floating an even more cold-blooded smile.
“……In this situation, there is no way of maintaining the Hiruku faith in this territory. The fact the church was burnt down by the judge of sinners will undoubtedly stir up the people. Direct the people’s pent-up frustration towards the church, that way only the church loses sway in the region.”
“Are you sure? Won’t that cause a major backlash from the church?”
“We are taking advantage of this situation to peel away the mold that has grown on my empire. In order for my empire to prosper, those who have been sitting at the table for free, with their mouths opened for donations, need to be removed. The church in Leibnitz seems to believe that they can profit from the latest incident without me noticing, but they are gravely mistaken.”
“Understand. I shall handle the Leibnitz territory as you ask.”
After making a memo on his report, the chancellor respectfully bowed his head and prepared to leave.
“Also, continue the search for Funoba. Even if he is dead, the Magic Institution has already completed the standard version of the 『Ring of Submission』. Worst case, we won’t be able to capture larger monsters without him, but soldiers should be able to handle those on the level of Ogres.”
The Emperor sat back in his throne with a smile on his face as he thought about the future while staring out a window that faced the direction of the Leibnitz territory.
The Northern Continent, Great Leburan Empire.
The capital city of Vittelvare was surrounded by a giant wall made of polished stone, as if to reflect the elegance of the city itself. When a person left or entered the city, they would see impeccably maintained streets and parks, as well as a multitude of pleasant looking people chatting about.
At the center of the capital was the emperor’s palace, which was the size of a small town, dubbed Dionborg.
The leaders of the Great Leburan Empire were gathered in the palace’s assembly hall.
The current emperor, Garba Leburan Sergiophebus, sat on a luxurious throne at the apex of the national assembly.
His long white hair and beard were carefully combed back. Though the wrinkles on his forehead were thick, his eyes still carried the sharp glint of a bird of prey. Atop his head sat a gold and jewel encrusted crown that acted as the symbol of imperial authority and his body was adorned in extravagant clothes and a luxurious mantle. Though the gorgeous scepter in his hand completed his ensemble, the emperor seemed to be in a foul mood.
The cause of his mood was the report his young and handsome official aide, Saruwis de Osto, was in the middle of presenting to the national assembly.
“──The forces in Tishen were taken completely by surprise, resulting in the area falling into the East’s hands. The enemy forces consist of a unit of monsters and soldiers with the strength of a company. The members of the southern army remaining in the area lack the numbers to repel them… that is all.”
When Saruwis finished reading the report, the senators that sat opposite to the emperor unanimously stood and up and shouted their opinions on the matter as a wave of unrest swept over them.
“What is this! Tishen was left insufficiently defended because the units from the southern army were sent to Wetorias……! We must recall general Keling and his troops immediately!!”
“No, no, don’t we need to learn how the soldiers were able to work alongside monsters!? Have you ever heard of such an absurd thing as a human and monster unit!? It just goes to show that all those eastern dogs have been tainted!!”
“That isn’t the problem!! They managed to take Tishen, which is located deep within the forest at the base of the Shiana mountains!! The Febiento marsh south of the forest prevents large-scale forces from advancing because of how narrow the roads are, so how did they reach Tishen undetected!?”
“Tishen should have had quite lax defenses. It wouldn’t have taken a large army to capture it in the first place. Besides, the enemy had monsters among their ranks, which allowed them to perform a lightning fast offensive strike……”
Emperor Garba snorted uninterestedly as he listened to the senators argue amongst themselves.
The emperor turned toward Saruwis with a troubled look on his face.
“The East managed to land quite a blow against us. The Southern army has to maintain vigilance along Derufurento’s border and can’t afford to spare many soldiers, not to mention Tishen is surrounded on three sides by forest. Recapture is nigh impossible as we lack the units to attack from the northwest.”
Emperor Garba rested his chin in his hand and frowned after he finished speaking.
“The monster attacks in Wetorias were a decoy to turn our attention towards Burugo Bay…… But where did they come from? It’s an unrealistic expectation that they traversed the Febiento marsh. Our saboteur division has sprinkled 『Abundant Harvest Stones』 on the East’s border with Rhoden to draw out monsters on that end……. though I suppose they could have incorporated those monsters into this operation.”
“That is certainly possible. It’s unconfirmed, but the eastern soldiers seem to have attacked from the forest near the Shiana mountain. If that’s the case, then they must have devised a method to safely pass through the forest. The forest spreads across the border and connects to the Urato mountains as well, so it necessary to keep an eye on Harutobarak.”
The emperor wrinkled his brow and groaned at Saruwis’ suggestion. He then turned his eyes back to the still arguing senators on the assembly floor.
“The East has no interest in taking control of Burugo Bay.”
After his soliloquy, the emperor took his scepter in hand and banged it against the ground twice.
The sound of the scepter hitting the ground echoed through the hall and silenced the arguing senators as they now waited to hear what the emperor had to say.
The emperor slowly rose from his throne as he stared out at the assembly.
“We shall not allow them to do as they please. The mission of recapturing Tishen shall be allotted to general Keling, who is to be recalled to Harutobarak immediately. Have Harutobarak’s soldiers prepare for the general’s arrival. The task of subjugating the monsters around Wetorias shall be given to general Minzeia of the northern army. The Suwin Kingdom mercenary corps will be moved to Feburuento to maintain the defense of the northern border. The forces of the western army stationed around Asupanis shall increase their patrols as a precautionary measure! That is all!”
The emperor glared down at the national assembly as he beat his scepter against the ground again. The senators simultaneously lowered their heads as they processed the emperor’s commands.
The emperor then looked back to the senators and looked to the five chancellors that normally sat behind him.
“Be sure that general Keling gathers information on the monster unit’s structure. We must determine if the methods they use to construct these units are applicable to our forces.”
Saruwis raised his eyebrow at that last order and voiced his concerns.
“Are you sure? Won’t using the monsters be frowned upon by the Hiruku religion? There are bound to be complaints if we follow through with that decision……”
Saruwis wore a wry smile and shrugged as he mentioned his complaints in a hushed tone unbefitting of someone in his position.
Emperor Garba simply snorted at Saruwis’ concerns as he returned to his seat.
“Hmmph. If I am to protect this country, I can not afford to keep my hands clean! If any bishops start to get fussy about this bribe them with whatever you see fit.”
“As you command.”
Saruwis’ wry smile remained as he respectfully bowed to the emperor.