Volume 5 Chapter 5 Liam’s Plan
“It was harder than I thought it would be.”
Liam thought in his hotel room after the meeting with His Highness Cleo and his entourage had concluded.
Cleo, whom he didn’t think much of before the meeting, turned out to be more mature than he expected.
He came to terms with it.
It would be a pity if the prince was a little frustrated upon witnessing the vast difference in their abilities.
He thought that the prince was an androgynous beauty, maybe because he was formerly a girl.
Even though the prince had the frame of a man, Liam felt a woman inside him.
Was he not a perfect transsexual?
While Liam was engrossed in such thoughts, the door to his room was knocked open and Rosetta rushed in.
“Darling! I heard that his highness Linus is putting pressure on the Banfield family! Is that true!?」
Looking at the anxious Rosetta, Liam felt dispirited.
He couldn’t stand seeing the woman whose will was made of steel, to stoop so low and now exalt him.
He became very embarrassed upon witnessing her demeanor.
“It isn’t a big deal,” Liam responded.
“It’s an enormous problem!” She retorted back. “The Banfield family’s finances would suffer devastating losses if the trading of rare metals is sanctioned!”
The act of a restless Rosetta flapping her hands like a bird was very amusing to watch.
She brought out Liam’s mischievous nature, he intended to tease her.
“You’re right,” he said. “I’ll have to live in poverty if rare metals can’t be sold anywhere. I would turn vulnerable and taken advantage of. Do you intend to throw me away and flee?
When he turned to her, Rosetta gazed at him earnestly.
“I will remain with you even if Darling becomes destitute,” she said. “Even if you are no longer able to earn, I’ll feed you!”
Liam did not expect such a reaction.
It was extremely disconcerting.
“I was kidding!” he retorted, “I don’t have any problems finding other trading partners. I can sell to our neighboring countries you know.”
“But is it not a violation to trade with the foreigners?” she asked.
“It was the second prince who picked a quarrel with me. Besides, even if I’m not able to trade rare metals, I’ll have no problems making money.”
He did have a Trump card which was his alchemy box.
He would be able to mass-produce and export metals other than the rare metals which the Empire regulates. It would not be a problem.
Even if it is regulated by the Empire, there were ways to get around it.
Liam felt that the number of rare metals he traded was not too large and his other business ventures were very profitable as well.
Even without the rare metals, the count’s estate would earn a decent amount through other various businesses.
From the beginning, the Banfield’s Estate focused on Risk diversification as a fundamental.
“It is not an outrageous idea to trade with foreign countries you know, it would be good to utilize this opportunity to make new connections with them,” he said.
Rosetta sat down next to Liam and looked at him with a smile.
“With foreign powers? Do you intend to forge your path, one that may be of detriment to the Empire’s interests?”
“I intend to side with the one who benefits me. It doesn’t matter if it’s hostile to the Empire.”
Rosetta found it hard to comprehend Liam’s words.
Liam stared at the stupefied Rosetta and felt that she was a little too naive to become bewildered even at his trivial remarks. Was I a little too severe? He thought to himself.
Well, if she became startled by such trifling matters, she would not last as a wife of an evil lord. He thought.
Wait? Looking at her, it felt like she was misunderstanding him!? He considered if he should flaunt his villainous nature to solve this misconception in her mind.
“Remember, Rosetta. A true villain colludes with the enemies and strangles his allies.”
Rosetta was startled by listening to those words.
It didn’t matter if it would be detrimental to the Empire.
He will pursue only his happiness!
Rosetta was perplexed while walking down the hallway, on her way back to her room.
“A true villain-who the hell is that?” she muttered to herself.
It was inconceivable for Rosetta to associate the heroic figure of Liam to an unscrupulous villain.
From her perspective, there was no one more righteous than Liam.
She thought he was probably infuriated by the real scoundrels.
Taking into account Liam’s actions so far, outrageous moves were not uncommon.
That can be demonstrated by Liam’s support of His Highness Cleo who was the farthest from the imperial throne. Even if that meant offending Calvin and Linus.
What was the meaning behind this?
Liam’s current influence can in no way be disdained in the Empire
His strength was such that, were he to pick a side between Calvin and Linus, the battle for succession would be determined.
So it was obvious that him accepting His Highness Linus’s offer would raise the Banfield’s house to greater heights.
That would also hold by joining the Calvin faction.
If Liam’s force was combined with Linus’s factions, he would surely have an enormous edge in the struggle for succession.
“Darling is an influential aristocrat, so the two princes should have offered him a suitable status. Yet they were both turned down and he backed the Third Prince.” She deliberated.
Rosetta ponders over Liam’s bewildering actions. She thought Liam’s decision had a greater meaning even though there wasn’t any.
“Ah!” realization dawned upon Rosetta. “Are both Prince Calvin and Prince Linus the scoundrels who are intimate with the enemy!?”
Liam, who was actively seeking connections with the neighboring countries on his own, must be privy to the dirty secrets of the two princes.
He wasn’t revealing these secrets in consideration of the danger it would bring to them. Rosetta misconceived.
Rosetta’s spine became cold.
“-Is this the darkness of the Empire,” she asked herself.
She didn’t realize it until now, but the darkness of the empire made her feel gloomy.
Rosetta deeply admires Liam who she feels is under immense pressure because of this conspiracy.
It felt like Liam was fighting alone against the rogue princes who betrayed their homeland and colluded with the enemies to the detriment of the Empire.
As Rosetta’s misunderstanding grew, Mary came across Rosetta.
“How have you been, Rosetta?” Mary greeted.
“Mary? I didn’t know you were coming here.”
“I received an order from Lord Liam,” she said. “I’ll be departing from the empire in a while. So I thought of greeting you before that, but … what are you worried about? “
“Mary, where will you be going?”
Liam will probably dispatch his subordinates to foreign countries, Rosetta thought.
Rosetta inquired Mary regarding her dispatch.
Mary was a little baffled but talked about her orders.
“It’s Roustoir. I’m infiltrating the Roustoir Integrated Government disguised as mercenary escorts safeguarding Banfield estates contracted merchants.”
Mary would be escorting Patrice of the Newlands Trading Company.
“The Integrated Government? –Did Darling tell you anything more?”
“I haven’t heard directly, but Lord Liam intends to make his connections in the Integrated Government. We’ll end up meeting their dignitaries as well, I’ll be keeping an eye on them.”
“Aha!” Realization dawned on Rosetta.
Rosetta felt she was able to connect the dots.
“Rosetta, are you okay?” Mary asked, concerned.
Mary spoke of the details of her mission as Rosetta was Liam’s fiancé and a key figure in the Banfield family.
Liam hadn’t told her that it was confidential, so she spoke readily about her mission.
“Mary, I have a favor to ask of you. Please gather intelligence on the Integrated Government. I want you to investigate the Empire’s involvement in its inner dispute.”
Mary squinted her eyes.
“I’ll keep an eye out,” Mary replied approvingly.
Mary also felt something was going on behind the scenes so she listened to Rosetta’s request.
“How can you be such an idiot Liam-san?”
It was Wallace’s elder brother Cedric, who was expressing his discontent over the intercom.
Although he was a member of the imperial family, he was very far down the line of succession and so lived his life as a military man. Currently, he is a major general who leads thousands of ships with the backing of Count Banfield.
The reason he was swearing which was unbefitting of his stature was that the people around him were part of the same faction (Liam’s subordinates).
“I’m sorry, but don’t worry. I’ll send you state-of-the-art ships.” Liam said.
“Is that supposed to make me feel safe? I decided to live by on my strength, I wasn’t planning on getting involved in the succession fight!”
“Well, calm down. I’ll give you lots of funds okay?”
The reason Cedric was disgruntled was that he was assigned to a regular fleet and was being treated as a snitch by the other factions.
Even the operating funds for his fleet were reduced and his requests to the higher-ups were snubbed.
“And why did you pick Cleo?! He can’t succeed. The only way you can aid him is to help him secretly escape!”
“That won’t be necessary. I decided to make him the next emperor.” Liam replied.
That will benefit me, Liam thought.
The Emperor and the other princes are likely to be his enemies and Linus is already belligerent towards him.
“There is no way you are getting out of this situation now Cedric, just keep the fleet in control and I’ll give you a generous budget and state-of-the-art weaponry.”
“If you give me the funds, I can do it. But I can move only around a thousand ships at most. I don’t think I can be that helpful to you though?”
“That’s not a problem, I’ll get you promoted soon,” Liam answered.
“Stop already! There is another way to do this. I want to progress by achieving merits and getting promoted naturally!”
Cedric seemed to be very motivated.
“Thank you, I’ll put you to work then,” Liam said.
“Eh?” Cedric responded.
Liam thought it was wasteful to let Cedric remain unutilized.
If Cedric was going to be snubbed by his higher-ups, he thought of placing him in an environment where he can flourish.
“His Highness Cleo sent a letter to me. There seem to be many requests for the extermination of pirates. It would be too much even for my fleet to handle. So I expect you to help me with that.” Liam said.
“Eh!?” Cedric replied dumbfoundedly.
“Prepare a list of what you want. I’ll also prepare an additional thousand ships. There are a lot of idle people in the Army, I’ll gather and send them to you.”
There are plenty of ways to join the Imperial Army! And there wasn’t a shortage of soldiers to scrape together.
In the first place, there are lots of gaps in interstellar nations territory management.
It is simply too large to manage the whole territory. So the approach they took was distributing small fleets on patrolling missions. But most of these fleets never saw any conflict.
Liam learned about it when he was in a patrol fleet.
Liam thought of making effective use of them.
“Then, I’ll tell you the commanders I know in the Imperial Army. If you need any supplies, you can rely on them.”
Liam had been bribing commanders regularly in the Imperial Army to expand his influence. He could cash in favors from them now.
Cedric gladly accepted the help.
“Goodbye!” Liam cut off the communication.
He was excited to plan his next move.
“Well, I wonder what I should do next?”
Being an evil lord was fun!
In the Banfield family’s domain.
Brian was shuddering while reading a report with Serena, the chief maid.
“Oh, we’ve put all our effort into the development of the new territory, but the Lord wants us to fully mobilize the army!?”
The Banfield’s are now busy developing the newly acquired planet.
The construction of settlements had begun and they were investing enormous capital, manpower, and resources.
In the midst of that, almost all the troops were given orders to mobilize.
Except for the fleets undergoing training and reorganizing, 30,000 ships were mobilized.
The remaining ships were stationed near the territory for its defense and were extremely indispensable.
Serena was also baffled.
“It’s like fighting without any armor. With even the slightest miscalculation on our part, the territory would collapse.”
If any unit fails, it would have a domino effect.
There was a chance of utter destruction of the Banfield family.
“Lord Liam! Why didn’t you consult with me!” Brian lamented.
While Brian started crying, Serena on the other hand was very amused.
“Well, we wouldn’t be able to stop it now. Even so, this is a tremendous opportunity. If we succeed, His Highness Cleo will emerge as a strong contender for the throne “
The chances of that happening were close to zero until now, but it may now increase by a few percent.
Serena felt that Liam was serious about making Cleo the emperor. But that didn’t matter to Brian.
“Why does Lord Liam always take such extreme measures!” It was not the first time Liam had made brash decisions. “Even so, the territorial people are not burdened much.”
Liam did not place any burdens on the people of his territory even in this dire situation.
Brian felt that it was due to Liam’s compassion.
Serena shakes her head.
“Anyway, did you hear anything new about trade with neighboring countries?”
“I haven’t heard anything, but trading commodities other than rare metals is not a crime, so it should be fine.” He replied.
“-Yeah. There should be no troubles unless we trade rare metals.”
Serena seemed to be very concerned.
Brian answers with a laugh.
“I saw the list of items that we’re planning on trading, they were all fine. You’re worrying too much Serena.”
“I hope so,” Serena replied.