I normally say that I like Past Life Returner but I have not read it at all, not even the manhwa(comic). But this story is different, I love it. I...
Chapter 247 Threat
The news that Duke Armenia’s family had successfully defeated the Acacia military spread through the country immediately, to the capital as well.
“Now you must feel better, Bern.”
“Yes, truly. But there’s also the possibility of follow-up attacks. We can’t let our guard down yet.”
“Yes. In our current relation with the Towair Kingdom, it’s difficult to provide military or resource support to them. If there’s really a follow-up attack, it’s hard to say how long Duke Armenia’s territory will last. We need to think about the situation like this. Our country’s difficult situation is really harrowing.”
Lady Letticia let out a long sigh.
“Seems like it’s quite hard after all.”
“The worst problem is the lack of material resources. Even though my brother has managed to distribute resources equally so far throughout the land, we’re almost out of everything. War is a huge drain on money and goods. Even if people can tentatively maintain stability, we won’t have enough for another round of conflicts.”
I also sighed deeply.
Although I was a member of Duke Armenia’s family, I was also someone who shouldered the burden of national politics.
Saying I had to go back because of my family’s situation was unacceptable, as was working for them with the advantage of my position in the capital.
If I did that, I wouldn’t be a role model for my family anymore.
Currently I kept thinking over some kind of legitimate way I could convince the country to move on its own behalf. But reality was cruel.
“On the other hand, Duke Armenia’s territory is truly impressive. They not only responded to my brother’s demands during the riots happening during those natural disasters, but also supported the people moving over. They’ve overcome another difficult hurdle this time.”
“Yes. I can only hold the utmost respect for my sister and the people around her.”
“Indeed. No matter what the citizens there think, as a nation we hope we can resolve this issue to preserve the talent and resources there. I wonder if we can achieve a compromise through negotiation.”
“My sister also hopes for things to resolve themselves as soon as possible. She’s thinking of a way to leverage her current relationship with the Acacia Kingdom and pave a road for potential negotiations.”
“Ah, of course Iris is thinking so far ahead. What is Ludy thinking?”
“He’s currently puzzling over how to initiate the negotiation, who should be the one to take the seat in the situation, and how to bring the idea of a truce into talks.”
“Considering past examples, they usually select a team from the diplomats and legal departments. In terms of actual contents of negotiation: before we know the situation in Acacia, we’ll have to investigate.”
“It’s a difficult time right now. Our reality being that they not only know about our natural disasters, but also our war with the Towair Kingdom. Beforehand they must have some understanding of our country, and have probably grasped a good understanding of our geographical landscapes.”
“That does seem to be the case.”
Lady Letticia spoke as if intervening in our conversation.
“To tell both of you first…I’ve already handed the whole thing over to Duke Armenia’s family. Of course, I’ll discuss the official documentation of this incident with my brother.”
“Really? This is a discussion between nations. To hand this over to a duke’s family…I’m sure the other families would oppose this strongly.” I couldn’t disguise my shock at Lady Letticia’s words.
“Isn’t the name of the country important when walking into a negotiation setting? Most importantly we need a spy to find the conditions where we can force them to compromise and find real intel on them.”
Ludy also seemed opposed.
“I don’t think there’s a better choice than Iris though. First of all, she’s had direct contact with Acacia royalty, even been proposed to by them. If we walk this route, she’ll be a familiar face on the negotiation table. Plus, Duke Armenia’s territory and the Acacia Kingdom have obtained massive profits through trade. My guess is they won’t treat them with less respect than a nation. In addition, as Milo has mentioned, Iris has incredible spies under her hand with incredible technique. I’m sure they’ve already investigated the kingdom under her order. Perhaps they were already looking into things during the proposal. Compared to us, who have just started digging into things, she’ll be more likely to create the atmosphere for a negotiation. Finally, the most important point: what’s the use in the country moving out now? In this current incident, the country didn’t do anything at all before Duke Armenia’s territory resolved things on their own. If people on this side intervened they might just end up causing more chaos with how little they know about the situation. Not difficult to imagine that the people would oppose things too. Because of these reasons, I think it’ll be more efficient to hand the negotiations over to Duke Armenia’s family.”
We had nothing to say before Lady Letticia’s words except for agreeing nods.
“Plus, the point about other families opposing…what else is there for them to say? They’ve got incredible wealth, talent, and an army powerful enough to defeat a national military.”
She sighed as she said this.
“Although Bern and Ludy both have Duke Armenia’s heritage…I only said this because I truly trust you. To be honest, the royal family is fearful of your power.”
My body stiffened upon hearing this.
“Originally, compared to when my grandmother was ruling, Duke Armenia’s family is incredibly strong. We even felt threatened by this. But they are truly nobles among nobility. They understand a noble’s responsibility and have made boundless contributions to the nation. So that’s why we’ve allowed them to flourish until today.”
“I have a difficult question to answer from my perspective. Are there plans to reduce Duke Armenia’s family’s power in the future?”
Lady Letticia smiled bitterly at my question.
“No, it’s quite the opposite. Duke Armenia’s family is so strong that royalty must give them extra leniency to prevent them from branching out and creating their own nation.”
Ludy and I were wide-eyed in disbelief at this unexpected response.
“Duke Armenia’s family has already suffered quite a lot through that Ellia and that brother’s policies. Not only did they fail to protect you, they even gave you more trouble than necessary when asking for resource donations. To be quite honest, if I were Iris I’d be distancing myself from such a troublesome government. Duke Armenia’s territory has such immense social potential that in the future I’m sure it could garner power to rival a country. The nation would be in a sticky spot without them, while they could fare for themselves quite well without the assistance of the country. Such is the power dynamic. Our biggest problem right now is the many nobles who don’t understand this truth.”
“Lady Letticia…I swear to you that Duke Armenia’s territory will never rebel against the capital.”
“Yes, Bern. I understand you and Sir Louis’ accomplishments. You really fight your hardest for this nation, and I have never doubted the family’s intentions. I’m only explaining the reality of your power.”
The expression on me and Ludy’s face was impossible to describe.
“To forcibly restrict you underneath the national government would disrupt the current situation. We’d not only lose out on tax money but also face the possibility of disintegrating territory if we ever tried to reduce your power. Since the people are so united, they’d likely revolt too. Although I understand this is a double-edged sword, Duke Armenia’s territory has an even more advanced legal system, tax system, and standard of life than not only the other territories, but the capital as well. If the nation could manage to centralize power and raise every territory’s standard of living to Duke Armenia’s territory’s level then everything might be more equal, but in reality this is incredibly difficult to achieve. Instead of trying to get them to match the territories around them, it’s better to give them more freedom as a special district.”
We still couldn’t manage to make much of a comment on this.
“Okay, seems like we’re almost there.”
“Speaking of which, why are we walking toward the tower anyways?”
Lady Letticia smiled warmly in response to Ludy’s question.
“To watch one of the conclusions of this tale. If it were grasped well in the hands of the victor everything would be fine. But if something resulted in a complete reversal then they would have to completely change their course to correct that.”
Her words left us confused.
“Ludy, my brother wished for you to stay here because of a very important case. Are you ready?”
She issued this question with a quiet smile. Yet it seemed like she was surrounded with an interminable determination.
Just like she had said, as a guard close to Dean Ludy should have accompanied him on the journey forward.
But his majesty had suddenly issued an order for him to stay in the capital.
No matter how much Ludy lamented, his requests were rejected.
“You’ll know when the time is right. I only leave you behind because of my trust in you. That’s what he said when he departed.”
“I’m ready. This sword is more than a decoration. It’s a symbol of my determination.”
“Is that so. Bern, whatever happens before your eyes now, promise to keep it secret.”
Lady Letticia led us into a room.
It was a completely normal room, with a single wall dedicated completely to a bookshelf.