Volume 5 Chapter 6 Roustoir Integrated Government
Patrice, who lead the merchant caravan, was meeting with the dignitaries of the Roustoir Integrated Government at a spaceport.
The two shook hands.
“We have been awaiting your arrival, Miss Patrice.”
“Likewise esteemed representatives.”
The Roustoir Integrated Government is a coalition of democratic states.
It is not an aristocracy like the Algrand Empire.
They rely more on automatons and artificial intelligence than the Empire. Even though they do have some humans in their army, they didn’t have any knights.
From the perspective of the Integrated Government, the political system of the Empire was primitive.
The delegate of such an Integrated Government was awaiting Patrice’s arrival.
Patrice was guided by the delegate to a room where they could begin the trade.
There were not only officials but also politicians and military personnel waiting in the room.
“Please wait outside the room until the transaction is done,” Patrice said to her guards other than Mary.
When Patrice said so, the escorts made a bitter face.
It was Mary who accompanied Patrice inside the room.
(Taking someone of Mary’s ability alone was overkill, she didn’t understand why they got upset.)
Patrice sat on the seat and Mary imposingly stood behind her.
The official who guided them also sat down and began the transaction.
“We are in a hurry at the moment, so please show us the goods so we can finish the transaction. We can continue to do such business in the future-“
“I can’t guarantee that.” Patrice interrupted.
When Patrice refused to continue their dealings with the Integrated Government in the future, the members of the Integrated Government got visibly angry.
She knew it was harsh, but she had to get it out before further matters were discussed.
“…May I ask you why?” The official inquired.
“These goods are sold by Count Banfield. The Count is reluctant to support a camp without a just cause.”
One of the servicemen couldn’t hold his anger and smashed the table with his fist.
“Does the Empire intend to support the rogue states then!?” He seemed strangely angry with the Empire for some reason.
“Please wait! — I’m sorry. I don’t think you understand our circumstances.” The official said to Patrice.
The other servicemen restrained the angry serviceman.
The official then spoke of their civil war.
“There is a movement among the states which are part of the Integrated Government to gain independence.”
It was not unusual in itself, and even the Empire had such movements in its past.
It was ideal to suppress it immediately, but the situation wasn’t so simple for the Integrated Government.
“If it had been a dictator who declared independence, we would have quelled them immediately.” He said. “But if it was democratically decided by their constituents, it’s not so straightforward.”
If autocratic states intended to gain independence through an armed struggle, the Integrated Government could immediately put them down.
But if a democratically elected leader declared independence, it would become monumentally more challenging.
Because that’s what the people in the territory chose to do.
Patrice listened interestedly.
“The situation is indeed very different from the Empire.” She said.
“…Yes. And the nations pushing for independence have united and declared war on the Integrated Government.”
Mary, who was listening in on the conversation felt the pieces of the puzzle come together.
(Is someone from the Empire supporting the movement? …Who could that possibly be?)
“The weapons they are using have been examined to be disguised weapons sourced from the Empire.” He said.
Looking at the footage projected in front of her, Mary deliberated on which weapons factory built the ship.
(This is… The work of the first weapons factory? The second weapons factory seems to also be involved.)
They were both weapons factories that favored the Berkley family. (TL [FYI]: The first and second weapons factory had pledged their full support to the Berkleys during the battle with Banfield Estate.)
It seems the ships meant for the Berkley family before their destruction had found their way into the Integrated Government.
(There would only be a handful of people in the Empire capable of such a feat.)
Patrice was watching the footage with great interest.
“So you think the Empire is supporting the rogue states right?” She said. “That seems to be why your men are angry at me. But let me make myself clear, I’m only a merchant and I assure you that my patron, Count Banfield is not supporting your enemies.”
The official also seemed to understand.
“Yes, I understand.” He said. “Our problem is the growing momentum for independence in various domains of our nation. Our armies are monitoring various critical regions and can’t be moved carelessly to build up our war force.”
However, the rogue states were equipped with state-of-the-art weapons and commanded their surrounding areas with strength.
“…Who do you think is supporting these rogue states?”
“The most likely possibility is…” The official answered troubled.
“-We believe it to be His Imperial Highness Linus. To be precise, we concluded that his henchmen are the ones providing the supplies.”
Mary’s eyes were wide open after listening to that possibility.
(This is what Rosetta was troubled about. It’s getting very interesting.)
“…Linus.” Patrice sighed.
“…Well, let’s start by trading the products we brought in.”
The merchant caravan of the Henfrey Company came to the Oxis United Kingdom.
As an interstellar nation, it resembled the Empire. They were a gathering of Kingdoms who in turn had a republican political system.
Thomas had previously traded in the United Kingdom and had made connections with the aristocracy here.
An aristocrat who was smoking a pipe revealed to Thomas the inner circumstances of the United Kingdom.
Of course, that was after Thomas bribed him.
“Imperial Prince Linus has secret agreements with many kingdoms that are part of the United Kingdom. In return for our support, when Prince Linus succeeds as the Emperor, he plans to yield the disputed territories to the United Kingdom”
“There were such behind-the-scenes dealings!?”
Thomas was surprised, but it was no wonder there were such agreements.
In the first place, the territory of the Empire was immense.
Even if a little territory was scraped away, it wouldn’t trouble Linus in any way.
In the first place, the disputed territories belonged to the Empire’s nobility and Linus had no claim over it.
“The aristocrats colluding with His Highness Linus have been making a lot of noise lately. The domestic skirmishes in the kingdom have been increasing, so we’re gathering the supplies we need. Coming back to our business, will you offer me a discount?”
Thomas had told the aristocrat that he would sell him the wares cheaply in exchange for the information.
“Do you know which kingdoms Prince Linus is conspiring with?”
“Just so you know, not all aristocrats hold the same line of thought. The kingdom I serve is also in cahoots with the Prince. I of course have a different opinion.”
Thomas felt the aristocrat was untrustworthy.
“His Highness Linus seems to have been very busy”
“From the United Kingdom’s perspective, if we could get the disputed territories by supporting him succeed the throne, we would profit enormously.”
He was talking as if these were somebody else’s affairs.
The aristocrat seemed very sly.
“Well, it’s not all good right now. The skirmishes this time will likely be very prolonged.”
Thomas’s opinion of this aristocrat wasn’t any good and he felt that the aristocrat was lying about their hardships.
Liam was attending a lecture. Wallace was sitting adjacent to him and appeared very fatigued.
“Drinking from night till dawn sure took a toll on your body.”
That being said, the drugs in this world were very advanced.
Some drugs could cure a hangover quickly, so it was okay to drown in booze like taking a bath every night.
It also helped that the physical body was very strengthened.
What ailed Wallace was purely a mental issue.
“Leave me alone! I’ll be slain soon anyway. Just like the other members of the imperial family.”
Liam thought Wallace’s pessimism was very repugnant.
“I have people assigned to protect you. So stop fretting so much.”
“The imperial family has a long and dark history. From the Empire’s inception, there have been many special organizations created to carry out assassinations. I know that you are very strong, but even you are not infallible.”
Well, there were many competent assassination organizations in the Empire’s history.
Liam thought it would be a good idea to spend more on his protection.
An urgent report arrived as he was comforting the gloomy Wallace.
It was from Thomas and Patrice, who were currently abroad.
Incidentally, there was also a report from Mary.
According to the report from Thomas, Linus seemed to be making moves in the Oxis United Kingdom.
He’s a dubious guy alright.
Rather, he became interested in the United Kingdom.
He relished the fact that there were backstabbing nobles there who’d sell secrets about their collaborators.
He ordered Thomas to stay there and make connections with those nobles.
However, since Linus’s activities were brought to light, deciding on which factions to cooperate with had become more straightforward.
The report from Patrice stated that Linus was supporting the growing momentum for independence in the Roustoir Integrated Government.
This guy seemed to have his fingers in every pie.
(I want to support the states fighting for independence. But Linus is an enemy, so let’s lend my strength to the Integrated Government instead.) He thought.
I’m making decisions without thinking of the repercussions to the Empire.
He thought it was fitting for his role as an evil lord.
He then read Mary’s report.
It felt like her report was reporting on wild conspiracies.
“What is she talking about? Occult activities?”
Mary’s report said that it was unlikely that the Empire had intervened in a way to cause conflict in the surrounding countries. But she thought it was likely to be some other force.
Well, the Empire had a long history of meddling in other countries’ affairs.
It was quite a normal thing to do.
However, what was this about another inexplicable force working behind the scenes?
The occult? All these conspiracy theories felt ridiculous to him.
He was in a world where conflicts happened all year round. So even if unknown movements were taking place, it wasn’t something he needed to take seriously. He thought.
The timings probably just a coincidence.
No, wait! A mysterious force working behind the scenes!?
He arrived at a single possibility.
At the same time he picked a fight with the two princes, movements began in the neighboring countries. Now that he thought about it, it was pretty strange.
He felt like he was going to scream. Liam covered his mouth with his hand.
He couldn’t control his excitement and began grinning.
It was just too convenient for such a situation to occur… Yeah, there had to be someone working behind-the-scenes.
It was, of course, the Guide! He concluded.
“What’s the matter, Liam?”
Wallace looked at him with a weary expression, so he gave him a pompous smirk.
“Rejoice, Wallace. My victory is affirmed.”
“Is something wrong with your head?”
Liam hit Wallace’s head as he didn’t realize that he was being serious.
“It’s so fun!” He exclaimed.
They were in a dimly lit luxurious bar.
Liam was surrounded by exquisitely dressed women pouring him wine.
Also with him was the figure of a sulking Wallace, who was sobbing while drinking.
“Damn it all!”
He gulped some more sake.
“Wallace, I brought you to this exclusive establishment so we could enjoy ourselves.”
“How can I enjoy anything with my impending death!?”
Wallace, who was terrified of being assassinated, drowned himself in booze to feel better.
Being born in the imperial family, he was privy to how terrifying the assassins were.
He reminisced about a group that existed in the long past.
At a time when shadows lurked behind the scenes.
The Imperial family had a two thousand years long history filled with blood and bones.
These shadows played an active part in that era. In the end, they were betrayed by their master, the Emperor of that time, and petrified.
One of the women who was accompanying them headed out to the bathroom.
After checking to make sure she was alone, she pulled out a needle from inside a small container.
“What an idiotic man. Does he think his safety is guaranteed just because he is good with a sword? Strength is not the only way to kill a man.”
When she tried to return to Liam’s group, she found a huge wall blocking her path.
The dark wall was smiling at her.
“I concur with your opinion. However, I’m not sure if that needle can reach that person.”
The humongous man was laughing eerily. He was dressed in a robe and wore a mask.
As the robe shimmered, the woman tried to speak, but her mouth was covered by a hand.
That hand belonged to a woman who was behind her and also adorning the same outfit as the man.
When the masked woman peeled the woman’s face-off, there was a different face underneath.
The masked man, Kukuri, approached the woman’s silhouette.
“This disguise is rather lousy. Their skills regressed quite a bit. It was an indispensable skill to master in our time. “
The woman somehow softened her joints and struggled to break free of the masked woman’s clutches. But it was futile.
The masked woman did not allow the woman to continue her struggle any longer.
The three people were then slowly sucked into the floor.
Kukuri looked at the resisting woman interestedly.
“It may not have simply regressed, but they may also be learning different techniques. Hmm, it looks like she’ll have some answering to do. After all, we have two thousand years of blank space.”
When the woman tried to resist, the masked woman took away her consciousness.
“Is this the darkness serving the current Emperor?” The masked woman asked.
Kukuri answered the question in a doubtful manner.
“Hasn’t the quality dropped? Well, they may be taking a path different to us. We’ll investigate that slowly. Oh, you should take over her disguise and accompany Lord Liam.”
The masked woman transformed her body to look like the captured woman.
She then grabbed the peeled off face and used magic to attach that to herself. Her face and body now perfectly matched the captured woman.
She then proceeded to read the mind of the captured woman. The woman quivered and let out froth from her mouth.
“It’s almost like the world we knew ceased. Our knowledge and skills appear to have been lost.”
Kukuri dropped his shoulders in response to his subordinate’s report, which she gained from the woman.
“I didn’t expect someone of such meager skill to be sent to take Lord Liam’s life. I should go accompany the Lord now.”
When the woman and Kukuri disappear, the woman who removed her mask changed her clothes in an instant.
Then she heard footsteps outside.
It was one of the male staff members.
“Catherine, please come back soon. We don’t want to upset our customers today~”
To the male staff member who purred like a cat, the woman replied irritated.
(Because Catherine was displaced by the masked woman, she yelled at the man-)
“I know! Go away!”
“When did you become so spiteful!?” The man responded shocked.
After the male staff member left, the woman then headed over to Liam’s side.
Brian (・ ω ・) “Cathaari ~ ne”