Chapter 38: Leaving the Capital
A different world where magic exists, and guns and cannons have been invented. The Bungdalto Empire was located in a land called the ‘Eastern Continent’. This great nation, which competes to be the best with another nation, is in the midst of decline and collapse due to a variety of problems. Economic bankruptcy, losing land because of being defeated in war, and independence of one of its frontier areas, and the tyranny of the aristocrats.
I was born as ‘Carmine’, the emperor of such a sinking Empire. The young Emperor was a convenient puppet for Lord Raul, who is believed to have assassinated my father (the former Crown Prince, and Lord Aquicurl who is believed to have assassinated my grandfather (the previous Emperor), since they were both engaged in a fierce political struggle.
If I hadn’t acted like a puppet then I would not have survived until today, and I will continue to act like their puppet.
… Until the day I act.
――― It is the year 465 on the solar calendar. A ceremony was held to celebrate the Emperor’s 10th birthday as the snow thawed and at the same time, the Emperor’s tour of the nation was announced.
The carriage that I was riding in was equipped with magic tools… The ‘Smallest Fortress’ was surrounded by an excessive number of guards, and we left through the ‘An-Doch’ gate which is the northern gate in the capital. This was the first time in my life that I have been outside of the capital.
I thought I had left the capital five years ago… but I found out that I hadn’t and decided to find out more about the capital ‘Cardinal’. I also considered that not understanding the area that I’m in control of was also a problem.
Though, I only asked Count Palatine Vedett and Timona about the capital. I couldn’t openly find out more about the capital or the aristocrats would get suspicious.
The capital, Cardinal. This city, which was built by the First Emperor and completed during the reign of the Second Emperor, was a man-made city built from the ground at the confluence of two rivers, Say and Lambdet. It was planned to be both high defence and convenience.
The city was said to be robust enough to be the capital with Say River to the north and Lambdet River to the west as natural moats and surrounded by city walls (although Say River flows inside the walls for flood control).
Unfortunately, ‘cannons’ have been invented and were slowly being more widely used, so it remains to be seen whether the city walls are really ‘effective’ or not.
This area that is called the ‘capital’ today rather than the ‘proper capital’ extended a little to the west and a considerable amount to the east and south from here. In particular, the eastern part extended to a much larger area than the ‘proper capital’ because this area ‘absorbed’ two cities that were originally here… Sadie and Doed.
The west and south sides are surrounded by newly constructed ‘second walls’, but the east side has no such wall. The project has not been completed because it couldn’t keep up with the unexpected speed of expansion and because the finances of the Empire have deteriorated.
Incidentally, another reason why this project was abandoned was because Lord Raul had a say in it. He said, “It’s hard to believe that the walls would make a difference against an army equipped with cannons”.
This was proof that my enemy isn’t incompetent. What a pain in the ass.
Why didn’t you intervene when they were building the southern wall? Oh yeah, your fief is to the east, isn’t it? And only the east doesn’t have walls.
You really do whatever you want.
And like that, I became the Puppet Emperor to the aristocrats. I didn’t hear any cheers like I did at the parade when I left the capital… but that’s understandable. The citizens have been disappointed in these last five years.
“This is an aristocrat’s town… so I think they’re holding back because they are afraid of the aristocrats and not you, Your Majesty. Besides, we look like a small army to the citizens since there are so many guards with us.”
I replied to the voice from the seat in front of me, “Maybe,” as I looked away from the outside and at her.
“Yes, I am sure that must be it.”
The First Princess of the Belbe Kingdom, and my fiancée, Rosalia van Chalonge Cruveilheir, said then smiled. She had strange tastes; she came to me after I was called a Foolish Emperor, a coward and even suspected of having same sex relations. She is intelligent and attractive. Her only drawback was that for some reason, she had an unusually high evaluation of me.
“We do look like a small army with such a large number of people and horses… don’t we?”
This group, including the guards and servants, totalled 200 people. The aristocrats of each fief that I pass through and stay in as well as their own private armies will also join us from time to time.
Rosalia, Timona and Helck, are among the large number of people, regardless of faction, who were accompanying me on this tour. This time, since I was visiting the fiefs of the Chancellor faction, there were a lot of people from the Chancellor’s faction with me… but each faction had prepared a necessary number of chefs and maids.
So, the number of chefs and maids is two times more than what is normally required.
There was no need for chefs since I will be staying with aristocrats. This was a huge waste of money. How much money do they have to spare?
I looked out the window again. We were already outside the city walls, but this area was filled with residences owned by lower ranked aristocrats. This is the area where the so-called ‘barons’ and ‘viscounts’ live. According to custom, when the Emperor’s carriage is passing by, they are required to bow their heads until the carriage is out of sight. They will be punished for rudeness if they do not do so.
No one did this. They all ignored the Emperor’s carriage… but they are courteous to carriages of high ranking aristocrats.
… Yeah, it’s good to be frank. This couldn’t be a more accurate representation of the position of the Young Emperor.
I won’t forget this though! You guys should be prepared…
Well, that’s just how desperate they are to get ahead. No matter how I look at it, there are too many aristocrats in this nation. Three out of four streets in the proper capital, Cardinal, are aristocratic streets (apparently, they evicted all the citizens who originally live there) and residences for barons and viscounts don’t even fit there… I guess the Sixth Emperor’s ‘selling of government posts policy’ was still around. Try being on the short end of the stick, fuck.
Ah. I have to do something about this in my lifetime… or else the Empire won’t last much long.
Rosalia looked a little troubled when she heard my loud sigh, but she didn’t say anything.
Now, the first destination of this tour is Count Beiler Nova’s fief which is located on the border next to the Theanabe Union.
If I simply wanted to go to the frontline to see the Theanabe Union, then I couldcan go to Count Beiler Tore’s fief, who is in the Chancellor’s faction… but the reason why I didn’t was because of the road. The Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies insisted that the Young Emperor couldn’t make a long journey on a common road no matter how good this carriage was. To take the stone-paved ‘main road’, this trip will traverse through the fief of Marquis Maldorsa, pass through the fief of Count Beiler Tore to the northwest, then head north through Count Kushad’s fief to Count Beiler Nova’s fief. Thanks for your concern… but I could have managed this tour somehow with magic.
By the way, Count Kushad is in the Regency faction. I’m sure you were trying to push this fief into my trip in the name of concern, Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies.
I won’t be receiving any greetings from the local aristocrats around the capital, a territory I directly control, until I leave ‘Count Pildy’s fief’. I feel relatively comfortable.
“I see that everyone wants to enter Maquis Maldorsa’s fief as soon as possible… We can take it easy today.”
“It’s been a while since we have been alone together,” Rosalia added as her cheeks went pink. Cute.
… I mean…
“Say, do my feelings show on my face?”
Before and even now, if our conversation gets leaked… then it would be fatal for me since I have to play the role of a Foolish Emperor.
“No, not normally. But your face is full of expressions when we are alone like this… Fufu. It makes me very happy.”
I looked away and remembered the time when I melted the bars. I’ve acted my physical age many times instead of my mental age. This was proof that I had let my guard down. I must be careful not to make this mistake in front of the other aristocrats.
“By the way, I was wondering why this is called ‘Count Pildy’s fief’ when it is His Majesty’s territory.”
Rosalia asked after we had been in the swaying carriage for a while… I’m sure the aristocrats couldn’t imagine that… Rosalia would ask such a question to the Foolish Emperor.
“Because the Bungdalto Empire is the Lothar Empire’s ‘successor nation’.”
“For example, in the Lothar Empire it was the ‘Maldorsa House’ that ruled over the ‘Marquis Maldorsa’s fief’.
When a ‘House’ goes extinct, another aristocrat will rule the land and the name of the fief will change in accordance. The name of the fief was called the ‘title of the fief’.
“The Bungdalto Empire decided to take over the fief titles and boundaries of the Lothar Empire as they were.”
But the aristocrats, who had track records, sealed the land, and as a result, there is a discrepancy between the title of the fief and the House. In Japanese terms, the name of the prefecture is ‘Marquis Maldorsa’s fief’ and the prefectural governor is ‘Alemanne-san’.
I don’t know if this was part of the ‘Revival of Lothar’ or if it was because it was too much trouble to decide on a new name.
“So, the fief title and the House are the same as the aristocrats who owned the land since the time of the Lothar Empire with a few exceptions.”
“With a few exceptions?”
“A simple example is when a member of the royal family becomes a ‘vassal’. By custom, the title of the fief is the new House name. Duke Warung and Marquis Dzran are the fourth and fifth sons of the Third Emperor, Charles I. Duke Aquicurl and Duke Raul are the third and fourth sons of the Fifth Emperor, Charles II. As proof of this, they all have ‘van’ in their namesTN: Why don’t I remember Aquicurl having van in his name. This signifies their imperial lineage.”
There are other cases where land has been reshuffled or baron titles have been newly created since the founding of Bungdalto Empire… But well, I don’t have to mention that.
“Anyway, this land was governed by ‘Count Pildy’ in the Lothar age, so it is called ‘Count Pildy’s fief’. Well, it’s also the capital, so it’s a fief title that had been inherited by successive emperors.”
The imperial throne can only be succeeded by the eldest son, but the fief title can be shared by the second and subsequent sons. This is the ‘Law of Succession’ in the Empire. But the title of ‘Count Pildy’ has been passed down the imperial throne for eight generations.
“I see… but I have never heard ‘Chalonge’ being used for a fief title.”
Ah, Rosalia is from the Chalonge Cruveilheir House, isn’t she?
“Since it doesn’t have a fief title. We called ourselves ‘Chalonge House’ before the establishment of the Bungdalto Empire, but we must have left the House early to prevent succession struggles.”
The family lineage that originated from the First Emperor’s fourth son… and its branch House is the Chalonge Cruveilheir House. Cruveilheir is the Bungdalto language for the Belbe Kingdom’s capital, Cruvleia. It means the ‘Chalonge family of Cruveilheir’.
It was a classic example of a branch family becoming greater than the main family… Well, my family is the same. We were a former branch of the Garde House.
|↑1||TN: Why don’t I remember Aquicurl having van in his name|