The free city ‘Demidera’ was not involved with any country, and literally it was a ‘free neutral city.’ The other three big countries also admitted the necessity of Demidera, so the city had existed as a neutral city for hundreds of years.
“Come this way.”
The ‘Mayor’ of Demidera, Engolo, lead the embassy of Greenriver himself. The great merchants were the nobles of the free city, and they voted for the Mayor every 6 years, and Engolo was elected as the 19th Mayor.
“What about the other embassies?”
“We lead them to each guest mansion.”
Demidera remained neutral with the support of the three countries. Of course, they had luxurious guest mansions for each country. It was superior to most of the giant luxurious mansion in the continent, 20 percent of the city’s budget was used for maintaining such guest mansions.
“You may use this guest mansion. And for His Highness the Crown Prince, please use that special mansion over there. It’s only for the most precious guest.”
(ED Note: rip forgot if it was highness for prince and majesty for emperor… Is that right?)
Indeed, there was the biggest and the most luxurious mansion, inside of the other mansions. The Crown Prince looked at the mansion.
“Hmm. Not bad, indeed.”
Satisfied, the Crown Prince nodded. He would stay there for a week, and it was quite an outstanding mansion.
“Hey, Tower Lord. Are there any other scheduled items for a while?”
The Crown Prince asked the Tower Lord. His unique arrogance had come back.
“Until the council, we don’t have any specific schedules.”
“Hmm, is that so?”
While touching his chin, he smiled. There were many days still left until the council. He was looking forward to enjoying all the entertainment of the free city.
“Good. Everyone take a rest. Ian, you come with me. Come on.”
After that, the Crown Prince headed to the inner side of the great mansion, followed by Ian, Oliver, the 2nd royal knights and servants.
After a while, the 5th prince Ragnar called the Tower Lord. His voice was in a little bit of a hurry, with a very tiny emotion that most people wouldn’t recognize.
“Yes, your Highness.”
Ragnar went into the guest mansion. The Tower Lord followed him quietly. They needed a place for their secret conversation.
“I won’t blame you for this.”
That was Ragnar’s first sentence after arriving in the room. ‘This’ meant Ian’s unexpected interruption.
“But, the mage who sticks next to my brother,”
Ragnar also had been looking forward to this council. It was his political debut stage. While the idiot Crown Prince was wasting this precious chance, he planned to become a hero of this council. However, an unexpected interruption had just appeared at the last moment.
“He keeps making me uncomfortable. This time again, I feel something bad about him.”
The Tower Lord agreed. He also felt uncomfortable about Ian, especially today.
“However, do not worry too much. Ian Page has great magical talent indeed, but we are dealing with diplomacy here.”
Ian was only 17 years old. He was not royalty, nor a noble. Although he showed many unexpected achievements, but diplomacy was out of his profession. Where he could learn the art of diplomacy?
“There are very few things that he could do with magic. He won’t have a chance to speak. Even if he has a chance, he will have nothing to say. What can that little boy think of?”
Archmages invited to the council were just decoration, a decoration to show off each country’s magical power. Only the Tower Lord might have a chance to speak.
“All processes and results of diplomacy are decided by only speeches and plans. Your highness, you will be the hero of this council as you have prepared.”
The Tower Lord also felt uncomfortable and angry in his mind, but they had planned this for many years. The empire of the Ivory Tower, its key was the 5th prince. The Tower Lord tried not to sway the 5th prince’s mind.
“Sigh, I see. I see, but still his existence makes me feel uncomfortable. As soon as possible, deal with him, please.”
During past the 5 years, Ragnar’s hatred towards Ian had grown like a snowball. He tried many things to persuade Ian, but every time he failed. Most of the time, he didn’t even have a chance to say hello to Ian.
‘You dare ignore me?’
Ragnar’s surface characteristic was artificially made by himself. Talented, but gentle and kind, a prince who planned to be a great Emperor. Until he had social power, he decided to live like that. However, the bastard, Ian, drew out his true characteristics for the first time.
“Eliminate him, by any means of necessary,”
“Do not worry about him as well.”
The Tower Lord had prepared many things since 5 years ago, to obtain the dangerous weapon called Ian Page. From dark magic, incantations of shamans, to various voodoos from far away continents.
“Soon, it will be done as you wish.”
“That’s good to hear.”
While the Tower Lord and 5th prince were having a secret conversation, Ian went into the great mansion with the Crown Prince. It was nothing inferior to the mansion Ian received from the Emperor.
“Let’s see. As I know, Demidera’s night street festivals are quite fascinating, it must be so fun. Haha!”
The Crown Prince’s mind was already full of play. He had no awareness of responsibility to the council. If the Emperor saw him, it would make him sigh, and Ian and Oliver felt same.
It would be Ragnar’s debut stage, and the start of the Crown Prince’s fall. Although it was a few years earlier than his former life, its essence was the same.
‘Dividing the army power of the conquest, and perfectly dividing territory and aboriginal slaves.’
Ragnar created many benefits for the Greenriver Empire through this council in his former life. In addition, he solved the tricky problem of dividing territory. It must be similar to his former life.
‘Only if I let him do so.’
Of course, Ian wouldn’t let him do that. He would do his best to prevent Ragnar from receiving any credit. To do that,
‘I need that idiot.’
Although it had been 5 years, the Crown Prince was still an idiot. However, he was the only chess piece that Ian had. Although he wasn’t a good chess piece, Ian had no choice. The Crown Prince had the authority to speak first among this embassy.
After sighing, Ian approached the Crown Prince. The Crown Prince already had ordered a few servants to investigate details of nearby entertaining points and foods, while putting lots of money in their hands.
“I need to sneak out, so bring me some cloths to cover myself. No luxury decorations, it will reveal me so easily. The most normal cloth you can find, okay?”
“Ah! And you guys know that I hate the color red, right?”
“Huh? Why, Ian?”
Finally the Crown Prince looked Ian. His eyes were full of innocent.
“You can’t go out anywhere.”
“What? Why? We still have so much time-”
“You have to prepare.”
“We can prepare for the next few da-”
“We have to start right now.”
Ian nailed him. He never allowed the Crown Prince to make any excuses. Other wouldn’t dare to reply him like that, but only Ian could.
“It is you who have authority to speak firstly among the embassy. If you can’t say anything, the 5th prince will intercept your chance.”
“My father already had told me…”
“Being honest, the 5th prince will be hero of this council doubtlessly. He must have prepared for this long ago. Do you still want him to do so?”
The Crown Prince’s face turned ugly quickly. The stage where the 5th prince became a hero? The Crown Prince never wanted him to be, he would rather choose to die.
By Ian’s word, the Crown Prince had thought for a while. Soon, he pulled out a bunch of papers from his individual container. Then he said while handing it in to Ian.
“My father gave me a few advisory notes before I came here. Of course, he didn’t give me answer though.”
Ian had opened the papers. In detail it explained about the background of this council, and what they may debate about, and what problems they were facing. In addition it seemed the Emperor wrote it by himself.
“He asked me to fill in its blank, so I tried my best, but….”
Under the written details, there were also the Crown Prince’s answers. The Emperor asked him to fill in blanks, and the Crown Prince tried his best. Of course it was full of garbage. It was rather surprising that he actually tried to fill it in.
‘The Emperor must be in complicated mind.’
Ian could understand the reason why the Emperor didn’t give answers. The Emperor was a smart man. He knew the Crown Prince wasn’t the type of man who was enough to be a good Emperor.
‘He wanted the Crown Prince to improve himself.’
The Crown Prince was definitely not good enough to be a next emperor, but the Emperor loved him so much. He wanted him to learn while listening to debates between other talented smart men.
“Honestly, I have no idea. Army force and supplement blah blah, territory and slaves blah blah. I definitely will be laughed at if I suggest some stupid idea, so it may be better for me to shut my mouth.”
The Crown Prince looked depressed. He must have thought about it a lot. He must want to run away and forget it by playing around in numberless entertainments of the city.
‘I won’t able to fulfill the Emperor’s wish, though.’
Wait until he learnt himself? Sitting next to him during debate? Ian had no time to wait. Instead, he could give him some answers.
‘To prevent him from being laughed at.’
Determined, Ian checked the Crown Prince’s bunch of papers one by one. Soon, by using mana, Ian erased dried ink, the answers of the Crown Prince.
“I will give you answers.”
“Huh? W- what answers?”
“I will give you every questions of the council, and its every solution. So your highness, until the council day, your job is…”
Ian didn’t write himself. However, many numbers of pens were writing on the air, automatically. They were writing everything that Ian knew about the council, and contents which made Ragnar a hero of the council in former life.
“Memorize it. You must.”
Of course, Ian had an alternative plan in case the Crown Prince didn’t manage to memorize. However, he wanted to give a chance to the Crown Prince, to establish something by himself.
‘And it’s better to have stronger chess piece.’
From the day, a week had passed. Unlike other’s expectation, the Crown Prince hadn’t left the guest mansion once. He didn’t even sneak out. Being honest, soldiers had known whenever he snuck out. They just pretended not to acknowledge him. But this time, he really didn’t sneak out.
“What is he doing in the mansion?”
The imperial soldiers whispered quietly.
“He called many whores, maybe?”
“Ah ha, playing with them inside, right?”
There were two reactions from the imperial soldiers. One of the reactions came from soldiers who still believed old rumors that the Crown Prince was a dirty stupid pig,
“But didn’t he change a lot recently?”
“Ah yes. I told you before, didn’t I? When I was guarding at the royal palace, I met him, right? Then he tapped my shoulders and encouraged me….”
There were few soldiers who recognized the change of the Crown Prince during the previous 5 years. Of course, the ones who still didn’t trust him outnumbered those that did.
“But what’s all that for? We have 5th prince.”
Of course, both cases still respected the 5th prince much more. It was natural. Ragnar had lived a perfect life for the previous 19 years on purpose.
“Perhaps this time as well…..”
When they were getting exciting about this topic, a handsome blonde man was walking from the distance, followed by a knight and mage. It was the Crown Prince, captain, and arch mage. He finally left the mansion.
“Y- your highness!”
Soldiers guarding near the great mansion bowed to him. They were afraid because they heard rumor that mages can enhance their ears to listen to quiet sounds. Although they whispered really quiet, they couldn’t make sure about it.
“Ah, you guys are doing a good job.”
Fortunately, such tragedy didn’t happen to them it seemed, since the Crown Prince smiled to them while waving his hand. As they know, he wouldn’t easily neglect such rudeness.
“Y- your highness, we will prepare guards right now….”
The Crown Prince shook his hand.
“Its quite near to here, no need. What was its name, the city council meeting room, right? Anyway, the council will be held there today, right? I just want to visit there early.”
The soldiers knew it of course. They were ordered to bring the Crown Prince to the place at afternoon. However, the problem was that it was morning. Why was he going to the meeting room this early morning?
“Your highness, I apologize, but the first meeting will be held at today afternoon….”
“I know, I know. I just want to do some practice.”
Practice? What practice? With curious eyes, soldiers looked up briefly, to check the Crown Prince’s face.
Soon, every soldiers was shocked. There was not any naughty facial expression on the Crown Prince, but he looked very tired. Look at those dark shadows under his eyes, withered cheek, and purple colored lip. They had no idea what happened to him, but it seemed he went through some great suffering.
‘What the hell did he do?’
Did he really play around with whores all days and nights? But then, what practice did he have to do? Soldiers couldn’t dare imagine what he meant.
‘Have no idea.’
Soldiers gave up guessing about it. They stepped back and made a path for the Crown Prince and his followers.
‘Whatever! He’s with captain and arch mage, he wouldn’t need our guard anyway.’
However, soldiers did not know. At the council between three countries that might be held for a few more days, unexpected consequences would shake the council, and change the destiny of the Crown Prince, Hayden.
Re-edited by FlawFinder. This one was a doozy, so sorry if a few mistakes slipped through the cracks. I blame Dinkleberg