Chapter 60: Imperial Guard Balthazar
The next day, I was in my room waiting for someone with a cup of herbal tea that Timona made me.
The ‘ceremonial sword’ that I had brought back yesterday was wrapped tightly in a purple cloth in my room.
I asked Timona to find a scabbard for it since I didn’t have one, but that wasn’t the reason why it was wrapped in a cloth; apparently, this was part of the ritual for the coronation. The reddish-purple colour that the cloth was dyed in was called ‘Lothar colour’ and used to be reserved only for the emperor of Lothar. It was a so-called sacred colour. Well, there were no restrictions on the use of the colour nowadays, so I guess it was just part of tradition.
Now, the sword wrapped in the cloth had the ability to draw mana from its surroundings and release it at the user’s discretion. Its ability was something that could be reproduced with a magic tool, but I wanted this sword so badly that I couldn’t wait to get my hand on it.
When you imagine a wizard, you probably imagine him with a wand. I’ve come to understand now that I can use magic in this world, that it was probably theoretically correct to say that a wizard uses a wand.
The ‘easiest’ way to use magic was to use the mana in your body to influence the mana in the air. This was probably the most common method for mages in this world, but it was necessary to ‘imagine the magic you want to use’ and ‘imagine tempering the mana’ when using this method. Well, the magic would still be activated even if you don’t ‘imagine kneading the mana’. You needed to properly ‘imagine tempering mana’ to achieve a certain degree of power.
It was quite difficult to imagine two things at the same time, and you would often devote your attention to other things when you’re in the middle of battle, so you would have multiple thoughts jumbling together.
That was where the wand came in. You would imagine the magic you want to use, but the mana tempering would be done through the wand. In other words, it was a way to organise your thoughts.
If you try to send two images from one starting point then they might get mixed up, so we prepare another starting point, the ‘wand’, and separate the two images from their respective starting points to prevent them from mixing together.
I was killing two birds with one stone since this wand functioned as a ‘mana conductor’.
I tend to move my hands when I use magic. If I pay attention, then I can use magic without moving my hands at all, but if I’m not, then I end up moving them. That was probably because that was how I imagined using magic was like. In fact, I could use magic more accurately and quickly with hand movements.
So, a ‘wand’ doesn’t have to be a wand. I can use a sword as well since my hand movements were also a substitute for a wand.
This sword also had the function to store mana, and apparently releasing it as well. When I tried using it, I found that it burst the mana out.
But simply bursting mana was the same as using a water pistol. I couldn’t use it as a means of attack.
But this ‘force’ was exactly what I was looking for. The sealing magic casted by the ‘Sealing Barrier’ wasn’t something that acted instantaneously.
Yesterday, I tried to use it a bit in my room (inside of the barrier ward) after I came back… and as I expected, mana was released from the sword. This was proof that the mana wasn’t being stored on the surface of the sword but inside it.
And I was able to use magic by using the mana in the sword. The released mana would be restricted over time… but if the ‘unrestricted’ mana was generated swiftly, then it would take time for it to be restricted.
I’ve been using magic by releasing mana from inside of my body up until now… but from now on, I can also use this sword. My power had increased by two-fold.
And this sword was the ‘base’ of a Holy Sword and apparently was of fine quality.
So, if I used this sword then the coup d’état at the coronation ceremony will probably succeed. After all, ‘only the emperor can be armed with a sword’ at the ‘coronation ceremony’ and the ‘Sealing Barrier’ will definitely be activated on my coronation day.
I will be the only one with a sword and I will probably be the only one who could use magic within the barrier.
I would be able to control the situation with this one-sided advantage. It will be easier for me to seize control of the capital if I can restrain all the aristocrats who will be at the coronation.
The other problem would be… controlling the Imperial Guards (the internal troops) and the army that had been formed to defeat Lord Warung (the external troops). I am waiting for a report from Count Palatine and Timona on this…
“Your Majesty, I have brought an Imperial Guard who meets the requirements.”
Now what kind of person has he brought…?
The soldiers who defend the palace… are people who I must command.
As a result of Emperor Edward III’s misruling, the Imperial Guard position had become a tool for aristocrats and merchants to gain ‘prestige’. The powerful and proud Imperial Guards have disappeared.
Nowadays, only the heirs of powerful aristocrats and rich merchants call themselves ‘Imperial Guards’.
But the duty of guarding the palace didn’t disappear. The 6th Emperor Edward III was a fool, but he was obsessed with ‘surviving’. He knew that he wouldn’t be able to protect himself without the Imperial Knights even if he had a lot of artificial holy swords. When he sold the official position of ‘Imperial Knight’ to the merchants, he hadn’t bestowed them with the ‘Quole Aques (Imperial Guard)’ TN: This was really confusing and I went back to check if I got it wrong cause he used different words for both this time… but I’ll just stick with what he originally wrote dozen or so chapters … Continue reading title which would be given to someone at the same time they became an Imperial Guard since he wanted to differentiate between the two.
Even though he had sold the Imperial Knight title, he had not sold the Quole Aques (Imperial Guard) title.
Did the Imperial Knights complain at that time? Well, they can be silenced with money. They all got a pay raise. I don’t know how they actually felt at that time, but they didn’t rebel against Emperor Edward III because of the salary increase.
I heard the Imperial Knights have a high salary because of this. Also, it was the Chancellor and the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies who took the paid raise that was meant for the Quole Aques and gave it to the entire force.
Honestly, I have a problem with their salary. Financially, I should probably lower it, but I won’t have their support if I do. What would happen then, you ask?
Well, you just have to look at a certain Roman Emperor and his Imperial Guards.
I’ll be killed if I’m surrounded by the entire Quole Aques force. I must do something before that happens.
The best option for me was to complete the accession without their help, hold them accountable for siding with the Chancellor and the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies, reduce their salary and numbers, or dissolve them.
But they could rebel during my coronation if I went with this choice. I would be killed if I fail to restrain them at the coronation, and the aristocrats could escape during the battle.
I weighed the merits between the Imperial Guards and the aristocrats and decided that I would crush the aristocrats completely.
The guard corps? Ah right, they exist, don’t they? But that was a title that was created so that it could be bestowed to the aristocratic children. I’ve never seen them work. So, they’ll be crushed too.
That’s why I chose to have a meeting with one of the Imperial Guards. I was able to do so because the aristocrats were becoming less and less wary of me. I guess they have a lot on their hands.
The man finally entered my room after a thorough body check by Timona at the entrance since I had to be on guard against recording magic tools.
“This way please, Chevillard-dono.”
Balthazar, the man who was led into my room by Timona, kneeled and looked down so that he wouldn’t make eye contact with me.
“It is a pleasure to meet you. My name is Balthazar Chevillard. I…”
“It’s been a while.”
I only glanced at his face, but I recognised him immediately. It was the man who had given me an answer when I was puzzled by the cheers of the people; the man who I saw through the carriage window. Has he aged since then…? I don’t think he had a beard like this back then.
“I haven’t seen you since the parade, Schwarov le Goose… I didn’t know you could change your name in this nation.”
His shoulders shook. It was a little amusing. Since he’s here, let’s threaten him a little.
I had Count Palatine Vedett search for someone named ‘Schwarov le Goose’ early on since he seemed like a decent person for an Imperial Guard even though I only exchanged a few words with him. So, I knew that no such person existed and that I had been given a fake name… but I had no idea that Timona would bring ‘him’ to me.
I needed someone who was ‘experienced in commanding troops in combat’ and ‘would be able to pledge their loyalty to the emperor’. The person’s ability to command troops was especially important. A spy hiding in the Imperial Guards could neutralise the troops, but they wouldn’t be able to command them. It seemed that Balthazar had experience in commanding troops even if it was only with small platoons.
“Or am I mistaken, and you just resemble that person? Which is it?”
He seemed to be shaking slightly. Well, he did lie to the Emperor after all. Maybe he thought that I might accuse him of being disrespectful. I’m not mad at him. He seemed to have good intuition since he used a false name to avoid any trouble. The ability to sense danger was important in any situation.
If he had been a low ranking aristocrat, he would have started talking about his official position and even his family history without even being asked.
Balthazar remained on his knees and didn’t talk… Doesn’t he seem a bit pitiful?
“You lied about your name, didn’t you?”
“I am… extremely sorry about that. Please! Please forgive me!”
“Whether I forgive you or not depends on your answer. First, look up.”
Well, I have to kill him or lock him up to prevent information from leaking if he refuses.
I spoke to him briefly; I told him about the current state of the Empire, the assassinations of the previous Emperor and Crown Prince and my intention to stage a coup d’état at my coronation ceremony.
“So… you want me to help you gather troops.”
He didn’t seem surprised about the assassinations. Perhaps, people were already gossiping about this in town.
“Hmm. I should command you since you are a part of my Imperial Guards… but I don’t have that power yet. You could interpret it that way.”
“… Hah. You are right.”
Balthazar said before looking down, then he slowly spoke again after contemplating for a few minutes.
“Why did you summon me?”
“Because I concluded that I would need you for this plan.”
Actually, it was Timona who brought him here, so it wasn’t me who made the decision, but I trust Timona. So, his decision is my decision, and if this fails, then I will take responsibility. Monarchs weren’t the only ones who took responsibility; anyone who stood at the top did as well… I haven’t experienced this in my previous life, so I’m just winging it in that area.
“… Thank you for your kind words. As Your Majesty Orders. I, as an Imperial Guard, pledge allegiance to my rightful master.”
“Thanks. I’ll need to contact you often… I’ll assign a spy to serve as a liaison until the coronation. I’ll introduce the two of you later.”
This arrangement will also serve as a way to monitor him. I’m sorry, but I can’t afford to screw up here.
“Sit down. Make yourself at home… I’m not offended that you gave me a fake name.”
Balthazar sat down on the sofa, drank tea made by Timona and seemed to calm him down a little. It seems like he has a lot of courage.
“Well, I guess I look forward to working with you, Schwarov le Goose.”
“… Please stop. I know a guy who has that name.”
He looked as if he really hated it. Then why did you introduce yourself to me as that?
“I’m joking… Balthazar. I would like to talk about your first assignment. Is it possible for you to take control of the Imperial Guards?”
“… There are about 50 Imperial Guard members in the capital. Ten of them are part of the upper echelons, and the others are commoners like me…”
The Imperial Guards, who were scattered by the sale of the title, has become a title for aristocrats and their children to gain prestige. They weren’t in the capital because they had no intention of fulfilling their duties as an Imperial Guard. The only ones who are in the capital are mostly those from peasant backgrounds. So, it may be possible for him to seize complete control of the Imperial Guards while I take control of the capital.
“I believe there will be a good number of people who will agree to this since there are a lot of aristocrat haters in the Imperial Guard, but I am the only person with the Quole Aques title…”
All the people who are supposed to be in a position to control the Imperial Guards are aristocrats… which means they are my enemies.
“So, what if we have all the information… on all the Imperial Guards in the capital, their thoughts, connection to aristocracy and their personalities?”
“Ah, well, then…”
Count Palatine has all this information, and this information is updated every few hours.
The people we placed to monitor other things could be re-allocated to this task thanks to Lord Warung raising his army and thanks to the fact that the actions of the two factions were predictable to a certain extent.
“…. It might still be difficult to take complete control of the Imperial Guards even with that information. I’m sorry.”
Well, it’s hard to be sure.
“We’re in a situation where failure is not an option. It’s better to tell me you can’t rather than you can. Then, how about you take control of a portion of them, and assign them to the coronation ceremony?”
“I don’t know about that either. There are many people who would like to participate in your coronation, especially those at the top.”
Hmmm. He’s right, they would want to participate, and it would be risky to intervene in that.
Balthazar pondered for a moment, scratched his head, then spoke again.
“Ah… how about we assign those we have control of to the outside?”
“Yes, the Imperial Guards will be divided into two groups on the day of the coronation: those inside the venue and those outside. The outside guards can still have all their gear on them, but the inside guards are not allowed to arm themselves.”
I see. That’s news to me. He’s right, only the emperor is allowed to have a sword at the coronation ceremony… I see, so that applies to the Imperial Guards as well.
“We will rush into the hall armed and ready as soon as you make your move. We can restrain both the aristocrats and the Imperial Guards this way, but we will be delayed by a few seconds because of the distance…”
Good idea. If we use this strategy… yup, it’ll work.
“That’s fine. I can hold them back for that long, then let’s work out the details of the plan.”
There are only four days left until the coronation ceremony. If I keep my guard up and go through the plan… then I should be able to accomplish this.
|↑1||TN: This was really confusing and I went back to check if I got it wrong cause he used different words for both this time… but I’ll just stick with what he originally wrote dozen or so chapters ago|