Chapter 53: Second Tour
Summer of year 466. The Emperor’s group set out on their second tour of the nation.
The main purpose of this tour was the western part of the nation, an area influenced by the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies.
The Regent and Count Palatine Vedett persuaded the Emperor to go since he was traumatised by Ghafur army’s attack on the first tour and was very reluctant (or pretended to be reluctant). The Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies owed a great debt to these two for persuading the Emperor.
The Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies went to such lengths because he felt it was unfair that the Emperor’s previous tour had been almost exclusively to the Chancellor’s fief.
If the Chancellor was still his old self, he would have intervened at this point by standing up for the Emperor, who didn’t want to go, or at the very least, he would have criticised the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies’s actions.
But he didn’t do either of those things this time because he didn’t have any energy to spare.
Rosalia and Salomon will stay in the capital since I would be troubled if they decided to raise an army here.
One of the reasons why I originally wanted to go on a tour was to get Rosalia and the people of Belbe Kingdom out of the capital… but the situation has obviously changed.
The Chancellor and the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies thought of me as an existence that they would eliminate if I got in their way until the last tour. Even if I protested here, they would twist it and say that Rosalia and the others have received secret orders from the Belbe Kingdom and are planning something wicked.
But the Chancellor and the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies are under suspicion for betraying the Empire because of the recent attack. Though I believe they’re nothing more than ‘convenient parasites’.
Stating that they might be betraying the Empire was nothing more than an accusation at this point, so they are only under suspicion.
Rosalia and the others, on the other hand, are ‘trusted by the young Emperor’ because they had participated in the battle (well they didn’t fight but they were there). If the Chancellor or the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies were to touch Rosalia and the others in this situation, then it would be considered a sign of betrayal and they wouldn’t be able to justify their actions.
As they say, “The nail that sticks out gets hammered down” … but that’s only true when you have a ‘hammer’. They are safe until the hammer is repaired (that is until the factional unrest calms down).
And those two aren’t cornered enough to strike empty handed.
Rosalia and Salomon would function as a balancer between the Chancellor and the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies. And the annoying old snob (Lord Aquicurl) will be with me.
So, the tour, with a greater number of guards than the previous tour, set out in the 8th month.
By the way, Count Palatine Vedett was also accompanying me on this tour. He hadn’t said anything, but it seemed that he had some thoughts about the ‘attack on the Emperor’ incident.
As expected, there were no assassination attempts or attacks during this tour.
Count Palatine Vedett was accompanying me unlike last time. I was able to learn many things thanks to him such as the personality of the aristocrats, the local’s evaluation of the fief lords and of course about the facilities that I wasn’t allowed to visit.
Timona had taught me a lot of things, but he didn’t know much about local affairs since he was always accompanying me.
From what I know… the west part of the Empire receives a lot of benefits from maritime trade. The west may be even richer than Lord Raul’s fief.
But those riches aren’t directly connected to Lord Aquicurl’s military power because he has ‘transferred’ some of his fief to his sons: the eldest, Freed, Marquis Aquicurl Nove, and his second son, August, Marquis Aquicurl Diederich. These two don’t get along with each other. This was the ‘weakness’ of the Regent faction.
Well, the Chancellor’s faction also has their own ‘weakness’… but moving along.
But that weakness isn’t fatal. For example, silver is the main currency in the western part of the Empire and the largest silver mine belongs to Lord Aquicurl.
The ‘amalgam method’ using mercury is widely used for refining silver. Another domestic politics cheat plan of mine has been destroyed.
But this wasn’t something I was able to see directly. I wasn’t allowed to visit any of the silver or salt manufacturing places. Apparently, these were the two main industries in Lord Aquicurl’s fief.
The magic tool workshop was also interesting. Just as cannons are beginning to be mass produced in Lord Raul’s fief, the development of ‘magic tools which can be used for military purposes’ is being developed here. But even Count Palatine Vedett was unable to find out what exactly was being developed and to what stage. They have counterintelligence methods in this region.
The rest of the trip was boring, and I had nothing to do except for being warmly welcomed into the fiefs.
… The small fortress was recovered halfway through the tour, so I was always alone after that. It was really boring.
There wasn’t much to see on the tour, but I noticed a few things. It was difficult to put into words… but I guess you could say the atmosphere of the area. It was different from my last tour. The citizens here didn’t welcome me as much.
The Emperor’s mother was the daughter of Lord Aquicurl and yet he isn’t welcomed by the citizens.
But that didn’t mean that the citizens rallied against me or dismissed me. The most appropriate word to describe their attitude towards me was ‘indifference’.
I did feel that the barons and viscounts were dismissing me. According to Count Palatine Vedett, they are survivors of the former Aquicurl Kingdom.
One can understand their opposition if one unravels the history of the Aquicurl region.
The Aquicurl region had its own cultural sphere before the collapse of the Lothar Empire. They were the first to gain independence from the Lothar Empire and the ones who resisted the most when the first Emperor of the Bungdalto Empire tried to ‘reunify’ the Empire.
Edward I, the second Emperor of the Bungdalto Empire, was forced to offer generous terms for their surrender. Although the aristocrats of Aquicurl have been reduced to barons and viscounts, their authority remained the same as that of a count of marquis. They were also promised ‘exemption from participating in war’. This was an extremely favourable condition since they didn’t have to dispatch troops even in a defensive war.
But their prosperity didn’t last long.
During the reign of the third Emperor, Charles I, Ghafur Kingdom (which was already a Republic but with a nominal King) invaded the Empire. The Empire suffered greatly in this war but managed to withstand the invasion with the help of the lords.
The Empire didn’t gain any territory from this since it wasn’t an aggressive war. The lords who participated in the war didn’t receive any fiefs and were dissatisfied.
Most of the Aquicurl aristocrats, who were exempted from war by the second Emperor, did not participate in this war.
Charles I, therefore, declared that this act served the interest of the enemy and confiscated their territories.
This was a clear violation of the terms set out for their surrender. He had done this many times in the past but failed to gain the approval of the aristocrats. However, this time was different. Charles I promised to distribute the territory to the lords who had participated in the war.
So, his reckless action was approved by the lords who put their own interests first.
The fact that the Aquicurl aristocrats remained somewhat autonomous also impacted their decision. To the lords, they were ‘Aquicurl aristocrats’ and not ‘Imperial aristocrats’.
It was too late to revolt. The Aquicurl aristocrats gave up on the idea of raising an army since the lords’ armies had already entered their territory.
The Aquicurl aristocrats were also deprived of various other privileges during this time.
The fourth Emperor, Edward II, succeeded in calming down the Aquicurl aristocrats, who hated the Empire, through repeated negotiations. Then the sixth Emperor, Edward III, kept raising taxes which led to the ‘Great Aquicurl Rebellion’. Phillip, the present Lord Aquicurl… and the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies, suppressed the ‘Great Aquicurl Rebellion’ and brought them under his rule.
In other words, the Emperor and the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies are both ‘enemies’. They aren’t rebelling right now because they don’t have the power to raise an army. However, they might raise an army if the situation changes.
What I’m trying to say is that the ‘Regent Faction’ seems more fragile than I thought. There are two leaders, Lord Aquicurl’s first and second sons don’t get along, and the old Aquicurl aristocrat’s resentment towards Bungdalto.
Maybe… I could use this.