Chapter 11: Ancient Guardian
I made up my mind to live as the Emperor; to do so, I need to get rid of those who are running the nation’s affairs as they please. Of course, it won’t work if I take action now. Even if I did succeed, I’m not capable of governing now, and the nation will split up and war will break out. What would be left after that would be a devastated land, and a weakened nation, in other words, the collapse of the Empire.
So, I will wait until the time comes. I will chip at the power of the Chancellor and Regent faction, build my own forces and accumulate strength.
For that purpose, I will play the role of the clown no matter how many decades it may take.
But it’s clearly impossible for me to do this by myself in this palace full of schemes.
That is why I need to find someone to help me first.
Fortunately, I have someone in mind. It is the Chief of the Ministry of Intelligence, Count Palatine Vedett. I need to talk to him alone, as naturally and unguarded as possible.
For the next few months, I stopped Count Palatine Vedett every time I saw him. Then, I would ask him to ‘do a job for me’ and have him do some miscellaneous chores.
I once treated him like he was unemployed in front of the other aristocrats. To the people around us, we probably look like a ‘selfish Emperor’ and ‘Count Palatine, who is forced to go along with him’.
The question was whether or not Count Palatine Vedett would get enraged or give up on me. But this man, whether he knew my purpose or not, didn’t seem to mind and did the ‘jobs’ I gave him.
One day, after repeating this process several times, I summoned Count Palatine Vedett to my room.
“Thanks for coming, Count Palatine. I’m going to give the free Count a job today too.”
Helck le Duffe, the steward, quietly left the room when he heard my mocking voice.
He wasn’t on his guard at all. There weren’t any maids in the room either, and I was alone with Count Palatine Vedett.
“Your Majesty. I’ve told you many times that I have work to do,” The Count looked at the door as he gave me the same reply he always did. He’s probably telling me that I should be careful since there might be someone outside the door.
I used my detection magic outside the room… Hmm, there’s no one there. There’s only one person in the attic. The only person listening is Count Palatine’s subordinate.
I seriously went through a lot of trouble to create this situation, but I guess it’s better to be really careful.
I decided to periodically send out my detection magic just in case, and after taking a moment to catch my breath, I spoke to Count Palatine, “Now then, it’s the first time I’ve spoken to you like this. Thank you for your continuous support.”
I spoke to him in an emperor-like manner for the first time since my reincarnation.
“No, I was just doing what a subject should do.”
He seemed to have noticed everything. His voice was steady, and he even smiled.
If I can make him into my ally, then he’ll be a reliable ally.
“By the way, do those people in the attic work for you?”
“So, you’ve noticed them. That’s right. I have entrusted them with Your Majesty’s protection.”
As well as monitoring me, but that’s alright. He probably can’t trust me after all.
I turned towards the person in the ceiling who was shaken and had made a sound for the first time, “I don’t mind. Keep doing what you’re doing.”
I won’t do anything to you, and I’ll forgive the fact that you turned your bloodlust towards me.
Well, it’s none of my business how Count Palatine decides to deal with this as the person in charge of the Ministry of Intelligence.
Now, the question is why is Count Palatine in the neutral party?
“I heard that you said you would obey whoever crowned me, is that true?”
“Yes, that is true.”
Honestly, it’s impossible to read this man’s thoughts from his expression. He still has a natural posture even now.
“When the time comes, will you attack me if that person ordered you to?”
“That depends on the situation. I did… say that I would obey them, but I didn’t say for how long. Will that be for generations or just for an instant? If you ask me something like that now, then I can’t answer.”
He started giving me small amounts of information as if providing me hints little by little. I’m sure he’s just trying to figure out how much I can understand.
“So, you’ll turn a blind eye to me until then?”
This man knows that I can use magic indoors. That is my trump card, my lifeline. I’m not going to antagonize the person who holds it.
“I don’t think ‘turn a blind eye’ are the right words to use. We will obey you.”
“Why? Don’t tell me it’s because I’m the Emperor.”
When I asked him if he would attack me just now, he told me that it depended on the situation. To him, the Emperor isn’t someone who he must obey unconditionally.
“Of course, that’s because you’re the rightful heir to Lothar. Our Vedett House are the guardians of Lothar.”
Lothar Empire was a major power that ruled this land before the founding of Bungdalto Empire… So, the Vedett House obeyed the Lothar royal family and were their close aides?
“There aren’t any direct descendants of Lothar in this empire, nor does this nation take the name Lothar.”
“Those are but trivial matters, Your Majesty. Bungdalto Empire is the rightful successor of Lothar.”
I see. It seems that there are some details I don’t understand.
To sum up, this man is swearing allegiance to the ‘heir of Lothar’ and not the Empire, nor the Bungdalto royal family.
And since I’m the heir to Lothar, he’s been keeping the fact that I can use magic a secret.
That’s nice. He’s easy to understand.
“Does the ‘heir to Lothar’ include Lord Raul or Lord Aquicurl?”
“No, Your Majesty. They are Lord Raul and Lord Aquicurl. They are no more or less than that.”
“So, I’m the only ‘heir to Lothar’ now?”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
This man is the type who lives by faith and belief, so I need to be careful I don’t step on any landmines.
“What would cause me to no longer be deemed as the ‘heir to Lothar’?”
“As long as you don’t forget that you’re the heir to Lothar, then there’ll be no problems.”
The Bungdalto Empire has inherited Lothar’s culture, language and history. It is a nation that had revived Lothar culture, which had been forgotten during the chaos that occurred after the fall of Lothar Empire.
So, as long as I don’t unnecessarily destroy Lothar’s culture or falsify its history, then there’s no problem…?
But it’s possible that I might be dethroned right away if I have a child, since this man answered the question with ‘it depends’.
No, I’ve made up my mind. I decided to live as the emperor, and I will trust and use this man to live as an emperor even though I don’t trust him.
But I have one question before that.
“Why were my father and the previous Emperor murdered? Why did you let them get murdered?” When I asked this, Count Palatine Vedett’s expression became distorted for the first time.
He closed his eyes for a moment and answered, “There is no one older than me among my house or subordinates. They all committed suicide.”
I guess… they did it to take responsibility for letting it happen. But…
“I thought the Holy One Church forbade suicide?”
“We have been guardians of the Lothar Empire even before they accepted the Holy One Church.”
I see. So, these guys are the kind of people who will be treated as heretics if they make a mistake.
They’re like fanatics who still believe in the Lothar Empire to this day.
He’s troublesome as an enemy… and dangerous as an ally?
But I won’t be fit to be Emperor if I can’t handle that level of obedience.
“Alright. Then, Count Palatine, help me. I don’t care if you only help me until my enthronement. I’ll take this nation back from them and rebuild it into a powerful nation that will live up to the name of being an Empire.”
Count Palatine bowed deeply and said, “Very well, Your Majesty. Everything is for the Empire.”
Thus, I got a helper… or rather, a henchman.
By the way, something occurred to me while we were talking.
“It’s great that I, the baby born after the previous Emperor’s death, is a boy, but what would you have done… if I had been a girl?”
“There’s no problem with that. The baby girl will still be an heir.”
“… What if she hadn’t conceived a child or had a miscarriage?”
When I asked him that, Count Palatine Vedett smiled widely for the first time and answered, “In that case, we would have killed Lord Raul and Lord Aquicurl’s whole family, the commit suicide.”
… I see. So, the assassination of the previous Emperor and my father was definitely done by the two Archdukes, and you have proof?
Wonderful… Though I’m not sure if you should give your best smile at a time like this.
Well, you seem broken as a person, but I don’t care.
Everything is for the Empire… right.