Emperor Chapter 61: With Love from the Tower
Security had deteriorated due to the mercenaries coming to the capital. Bars had become lively, but many citizens closed their doors tightly out of fear.
Some even concluded that the capital would become a battlefield and were trying to escape, and aristocrats were among those trying to escape.
Lord Warung was known for being a skilled warrior. His troops totalled 20,000. They were heading straight north toward the capital, and another piece of information came in that caused people to accelerate their plans to escape.
The surviving members of Marquis L’Mitedeau’s House had raised an army… Fabio had succeeded in raising his army and was now approaching from the east of the capital with 5,000 people at his command.
… I think that’s too many people, but I haven’t received any reports about whether it’s too much or not.
On the other hand, the punitive force that was gathering in the capital numbered 50,000 in total… but their actual numbers are unknown because the mercenaries say they have more people than they actually have.
Mercenaries are considered ‘dependable’ if they have more people in their group and they are paid more, so they say they have more people than they actually have. If they get caught stating that they have more people than they actually have then they will be charged… but there wasn’t any time to investigate all the mercenary groups.
I heard that Count Chamneaux, Matthieu le Chaplier was chosen as the general of the ‘Defeat Duke Warung army’. The Chancellor will formally delegate the command of the army to him, and he will leave the capital.
Why is the person who is commanding the army to defeat Lord Warung not the Chancellor or the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies? Well, because they’re not generals.
As a matter of fact, the Chancellor and the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies don’t have the authority to command the ‘Imperial Army’. They can only command their own private armies, i.e. the ‘Raul Army’ and the ‘Aquicurl Army’.
There are three positions in the Empire that have authority to lead the ‘Imperial Army’; those are the ‘Emperor’, a ‘Marshal’, and a ‘General’. Marshals and generals vary according to the times (e.g. there are more of them during wartime) but there are usually 1-2 marshals and 3-5 generals. Even the Crown Prince cannot lead an Imperial Army without one of these titles. My father had the general title when he went to war.
By the way, this rule was disregarded after I became Emperor, that’s why both the Chancellor and the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies both refer to their private armies as the ‘Imperial Army’ to increase their prestige.
But Lord Warung declared that they were oppressing the Emperor, so it seems that they, too, have decided to follow the rule this time.
Currently there was only one person in the Empire that held the marshal position. Count Zeefe, Justo de Zeefe. The rank of marshal is higher than that of a general in this nation, so he should have been in command if things went according to the law.
But he was a ‘neutralist’, and while ‘Count Zeefe’ is a title without a fief, he also holds another baron title that came with a fief, and this fief was in the southern part of the Empire… in other words, he was within Duke Warung’s sphere of influence.
He was a man that the Chancellor and the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies had to be wary of and he was currently under house arrest in his residence at the capital.
Why did the Chancellor appoint such a person as the marshal? He probably appointed him because he and the Chief of the Ministry believed that it would be better to have someone from the neutral faction be in that position instead of someone from the opposite faction. Also, the Chancellor and the other aristocrats will likely suffer if they didn’t have a competent commander if we did go to war with another nation.
Though, Count Zeefe isn’t on my side. I asked Count Palatine Vedett to get in touch with him through a spy, but he said that he wouldn’t get involved with civil war and that he would fight foreign enemies but won’t interfere in politics.
… He’s a stubborn person. He’s not a priority since he’s not leading an army, so I’ll leave him alone for now.
Next, there are three people… who could be called generals. Among them there was one person who was in a very complicated situation.
That person was none other than Lord Warung, Richter du van Warung.
I recently learnt that the Chancellor had asked him to take the general position when he stepped down from being a marshal, but he put this proposal on hold since he wanted to keep his distance from the palace, so some people call him general while others don’t.
This proposal was still on hold even after 10 years, but the Chancellor withdrew this offer when Lord Warung decided to raise his army.
The other two generals… Well, one of them belongs to the Regent faction and the other the Chancellor’s faction.
The Regent faction’s general was Phillip de Aquicurl. He has the same name as Lord Aquicurl but he wasn’t him. He was the legitimate son of Lord Aquicurl’s eldest son, Freed; in other words, he was the grandson of Lord Aquicurl.
By the way, he has no experience in leading an army, so naturally, he can’t lead the punitive force. Why did Lord Aquicurl give such an important position to his grandson? That position isn’t a present.
He may love his grandson since he gave his grandson the same name as him. Well, thanks to that, it was easy to decide who the commander should be.
… It still took a few days for them to decide though.
The third general, Count Chamneaux, Matthieu le Chaplier. He was Vera-Sylvie’s father, the man who will be leading an army to defeat Lord Warung and the man who I am about to meet.
Count Chamneaux, Matthieu le Chaplier. His personality can be summed up in one word: cautious.
His daughter was being held hostage by the Chancellor faction. He was in a tense situation since his fief was surrounded by those in the Regent faction. Even so, his perseverance to continue to endure this situation was genuine.
He refused to command the punitive force twice and finally agreed when asked for the third time.
He stubbornly refused to give Count Palatine Vedett a definite answer despite Count Palatine Vedett approaching him numerous times which showed he was cautious.
The Count, however, was coming to my room today to ‘greet’ me before going into battle. The meeting was arranged at the last minute, so both the Chancellor and the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies couldn’t take any precautions. The Chancellor, in particular, had one of his lines of communication with his fief cut off by Fabio’s army. They were now advancing towards the capital, but if they started advancing northward, then Lord Raul’s fief and the capital could be completely separated.
“Your Majesty, I have a report to make before you meet with the Count.”
A steaming cup of tea was quietly placed in front of me as I sat on the sofa.
I sipped the herbal tea that Timona had brewed.
“The matter with the Imperial Guards is going well.”
“Really? Alright. Keep me updated.”
“As you wish.”
No one knows that I am communicating with Balthazar, so I’ve been trying to keep names out of it. I wish I could use ‘Schwarov’ as an alias for him… but he seems to hate being called that.
I contacted Balthazar just before the coup because I was waiting for the Chancellor and Regent factions to relax their surveillance of me and also to prevent my meeting from leaking to others. It becomes more likely for information to leak when more time passes.
But more importantly, spies hiding in the Imperial Guard can ‘temporarily immobilise them’ by administering non-lethal poison to them. So, I had countermeasures even if Balthazar refused to cooperate with me.
“By the way… you’re making me a lot of herbal tea lately.”
Well, I do like the flavour though.
“The herbs in your herbal tea have detoxifying properties.”
“Why…? Ah, the guandeleo?”
Guandeleo was dried guande. I was burning some, but I had perfect control of the smoke thanks to my magic, so I didn’t inhale any of it.
Also, they stopped sending me the guandeleo after Lord Warung raised his army, and we’re telling people that… I’m holed up in my room because of withdrawal symptoms.
“I rubbed the scent on my clothes just in case.”
I have that well controlled by magic too. I didn’t know if the symptoms were caused by inhaling the plant or just by touching it, so I was very careful and didn’t let it touch my skin at all.
“You’re being too overprotective.”
“That is a servant’s duty… He’s here.”
I put down my cup and looked up. Count Chamneaux, who was accompanied by Count Palatine Vedett, was a handsome young-looking man. I see, he certainly looked like Vera-Sylvie.
He looked like a slightly grown-up Vera after the magic stopped.
“Please sit down, Count Chamneaux.”
I had an alternative plan when I met with Balthazar, but I didn’t have one for Count Chamneaux.
But… Count Chamneaux will definitely be on my side, because this is the best decision he could make.
If he doesn’t side with the emperor and continues to lead the army against Lord Warung, then he will have to take responsibility if he loses. Worst case, his fief will be taken from him.
It would be even more disastrous if he wins. The factional dispute between the Chancellor and the Regent factions will regress. Count Chamneaux was a member of the Chancellor faction and was surrounded by the Regent faction, so he would be isolated again… there’s a high chance that he would be assassinated by the Regent faction without even being able to return to his fief.
He was able to come to the capital this time because the Chancellor and the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies made a temporary truce because of Lord Warung which removed the pressure from the fiefs surrounding his own.
Count Chamneaux was a hound that was kept alive because it had a prey, Lord Warung. He will be disposed of as useless when there are no more prey.
So, what will Count Chamneaux do? Leave the prey alone? No.
He should follow a new master, the Emperor, and change his class from hound to guard dog. That was the right choice to make as an aristocrat.
This was correct in terms of the relationship between a monarch and the aristocrats.
But… a relationship solely based on interests cannot be trusted.
So, I’ll go with a more backhanded approach this time.
“I’m sorry for doing this without notice… but just give me a minute.”
I channelled mana into the magic earring.
“Vera. I’m going to give the earring to Count Chamneaux now. Is that alright?”
『Yup. I’m nervous. But, it’s alright.』
I had told Vera-Sylvie that I might do this beforehand… but she was still nervous.
“Calm down. You don’t have to stress about this… You’re just talking to your family for the first time in a long time.”
『Ok. What, should, I talk about?』
“Just talk about whatever you want. You don’t have to talk about me. Alright, I’ll give him the earring now.”
This earring worked normally even inside of a Sealing Barrier, but the call will stop if I stop channelling mana to it. I channelled a little more mana into the earring from inside my body and handed it to Count Chamneaux.
“I have an urgent matter to, Count Chamneaux. I’ll be back soon, so take care of this earring until then… We’ll talk later.”
Count Chamneaux quietly accepted the earrings. He held it in his palms as if it was very important.
His hands were trembling slightly.
I turned away and quietly left the room.