Chapter 56: The Beginning of Civil War
【Duke Warung Raises His Army!】
The palace wasn’t surprised when this news was brought to the capital in May 468, because Lord Warung and the Chancellor have been at odds with each other since the days of the previous Emperor. The Chancellor was on very bad terms with Lord Warung and the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies because they were both respectively in charge of military affairs and politics.
He could have revolted at any time. Or so most aristocrats believe. In fact, some even asked why he had kept quiet about everything until now.
As expected, the so-called ‘punish those who secretly plot against their lord plan’ was notified to aristocrats in every region. He stated that the ‘accession ceremony’ that had yet to take place was the cause and that he would destroy the Chancellor and the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies, who are monopolizing the government and liberate His Majesty, the Emperor.
In response, the Chancellor and the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies put aside their political dispute for the time being and agreed to hasten the ‘accession ceremony’.
The problem was which one of them would place the crown on the Emperor’s head; this was the reason why the ‘accession ceremony’ was delayed for so long.
They decided to compromise, so both will hold the crown and put it on the Emperor’s head at the same time.
… If you’re both alright with that, then you should have done it at the start.
People won’t do what they can unless they’re cornered.
Is that all you’ve decided at this point? Well, I don’t feel rushed.
Three days later, the palace was in an uproar as if it had poked a hornet’s nest when it received word that Lord Warung’s army was passing through Marquis Dzran’s fief unscathed.
Marquis Dzran’s fief was located in the southern part of the Empire, just north of Lord Warung’s fief. Its feudal lord, Marquis Alowa le van Dzran is a former royal, just as his name ‘van’ implies.
His ancestor was Rene, the 5th son of the 3rd Emperor, Charles I. Rene’s oldest son, Charles was adopted by the 4th Emperor, Edward IV, who had no male children, and ascended the throne as the 5th Emperor, Charles II. He was the father of the ‘Imbecile’ 6th Emperor, Edward III and Duke Aquicurl. I was descended from them.
It was a prestigious family lineage (in the Bungdalto Empire), but lineage and ability are two different things.
The fief ruled by the current Marquis Alowa le van Dzran had fallen to the size of a Count’s estate since half of his fief was ceded to the neighbouring Aplada Kingdom during ‘3rd Appelaas War’… when my father was assassinated.
Marquis Dzran was seeking to reclaim his fief. He approached the Chancellor’s faction with bribes… in hopes of using Lord Raul’s army, the largest army in the Empire.
But Marquis Dzran was never in the Chancellor’s faction because the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies took advantage of his eldest son, Manbel le van Dzran’s ambition to oust his father and take over his title as soon as possible. Manbel seized part of the Marquis Dzran’s power with the support of the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies, which caused the father and son to be divided between the Chancellor and Regent factions. They were on neither side, so they became known as ‘neutrals’.
… Incidentally, Marquis Dzran doesn’t know that Lord Raul, who was wary of Marquis Dzran because of his noble lineage, was the reason why he had to give up a part of his fief.
He was a pitiful man from an outsider’s perspective.
Of course, their family quarrel was a proxy quarrel between the Chancellor and Regent factions in the capital.
But the Chancellor and the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies agreed to ‘suspend their political strife and deal with this rebellion together’ since Lord Warung had raised an army.
So, there was also a temporary truce between Marquis Dzran and his son, and a notice was issued for them to fight Lord Warung’s army.
“Impossible! They were instructed to buy time.”
“Are you sure they battled them at all?”
“They’re advancing too fast! We won’t be able to draft soldiers in time!!”
I was taking a nap when I was dragged out by the Chancellor and the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies and made to sit on the throne where I was forced to watch the panicking aristocrats for hours on end.
It was very amusing.
I knew what was going on as I’d been informed of the situation by Count Palatine Vedett. Apparently, Marquis Dzran’s second son, Anselm le van Dzran, had sowed discord between his father and elder brother and seized control of the army. Then, he allowed Lord Warung’s army to pass through his fief.
I don’t know if Anselm’s actions were part of Lord Warung’s plans or if he did it on his own… but I suspect it was the latter.
Anselm had given Lord Warung permission to pass through his fief, but he did not lead his army and join him. If he had a prior connection to Lord Warung then he would have sent his troops to assist him.
“Calm down! Calm down!!”
The Chancellor yelled. It must be tough.
It’s too late to make a move, you guys. You should have acted swiftly when Lord Warung raised his army. Most of you probably looked down on Lord Warung and believed him to be nothing more than a musclehead.
But well, it’s easier for me to make my move when the aristocrats are panicking.
“Fortunately, Count Palatine Vedett took Nadine into custody when he detected suspicious movement from Lord Warung. We can buy ourselves a lot of time if we negotiate with her as the hostage. In the meantime, we must gather our troops. We can start by gathering mercenaries.”
The aristocrats became excited at the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies’s announcement.
Ah, the Chancellor was sulking since the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies stole the spotlight.
Me? I was just watching the scene in a daze like always. Did I really need to be here for this?
“Count Chamneaux, one of the generals, is already on his way with his army! We will surely be victorious with him in command, even if it is against Lord Warung!!”
The Chancellor mentioned Count Chmnaeux’s name as if he was taking a dig at the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies! The aristocrats were overjoyed. Lord Aquicurl’s face was twitching!
… This is surprisingly fun.
Count Chamneaux… Vera-Sylvie’s father will command the army?
I’m sure Count Palatine Vedett contacted him some time again and got him to be on my side…
I glanced at Count Palatine Vedett and he chuckled silently.
…. I see, you have the Chancellor wrapped around your fingers.
He was working on another task for me… When did he put these plans in motion?
One week ago.
I received a report from Count Palatine Vedett. The three men present were Count Palatine Vedett, Timona and Salomon de Valverde.
“Your Majesty, Lord Warung seems like he will be raising an army.”
“Seems like…? So, he hasn’t yet.”
“He has not, but I hear he has decided to.”
I see. So, Count Palatine Vedett knows exactly what Lord Warung is planning to do.
“Alright. Then, always keep an eye on Nadine. If she acts suspiciously in any way, then arrest her and put her in jail.”
“Oh… Is that alright with you?”
“Yeah. I want her to act as a messenger between me and Lord Warung. She is suitable for this role, is she not?”
Lord Warung doesn’t know that I’m not just a puppet, so he might not believe that I have seized real power in the capital. But that’s the thing that has been troubling me. I want Lord Warung’s army to remain unscathed.
“Look after her and make sure she doesn’t commit suicide. Hmm… Get one of the spies to act as ‘Lord Warung’s ally’ from early on and get them to contact her. Tell them to tell her that they’re looking for an opportunity to let her go and keep her informed of what’s happening. They should preferably be a woman.”
“Hopelessness kills, but on the other hand, people can survive if they have some hope.”
“Understood, Your Majesty. But… you are being very attentive.”
“Do I sound unusual?”
“No, I am impressed.”
“Why, thank you.”
Well, I admit I’m a little excited. After all, I’m just one step away from being rewarded for more than 10 years of patience. It’s hard to stay calm in a situation like this, right?
“Tell Fabio to raise an army just before Lord Warung enters the fief. If he can raise an army, then he should take a different route to the capital instead of joining up with Lord Warung.”
“As you wish.”
Worst case scenario, I’ll need the L’Mitedeau army to storm into the capital. And…
“How many decent knights are in the Imperial Guards? I want them on my side. Can you prepare a place and select the men, Timona?”
“Please leave that to me.”
Timona, whose voice had started to break before mine, responded. By the way, I can’t do anything against him with a sword anymore… I guess that hasn’t changed.
“Your Majesty, please give me an order.”
I guess that will do for now, I thought, and Salomon spoke.
“Is it alright for you to move under my command?”
Salomon is an active Marquis in the Belbe Kingdom, and I was planning a coup d’etat.
“Yes, it is what Her Highness Rosalia wishes. And… if we can get involved at this stage, then the Belbe Kingdom will be safe and sound.”
So, it’s fine for you to act on your own as long as the results are good? Decisive.
“But I’m sure the ‘Sealing Barrier’ will be up during the coronation.”
That was why I was planning on making my move then. I had an overwhelming advantage since I can still use my magic even within the Sealing Barrier.
“What is Rosalia planning to do?”
“Her Highness will be returning to her Kingdom for the time being. She will return under the pretence of the change in circumstances… but her purpose is to prepare additional forces for Your Majesty.”
… Hmmm, I haven’t asked her to do anything yet though. But if she can prepare reinforcements then that would be a great help.
“Is it alright for you not to go with her?”
“She is worried about you, Your Majesty. I will stay behind with my men.”
… Well, alright. I’ll just think of it as me having reserve forces. It will be easier for me to move daringly if Rosalia is away from the dangerous capital.
“Be prepared to be deployed at any time.”
I don’t have much time left. I need to be as prepared as I can.