The large country in the eastern region of The Large Continent, Markto. Having no choice but to go to Darl for trade with Farlane or Falldania, Markto was a valued client for Darl. As a result, both countries were on quite amiable terms with each other, and with Farlane’s first princess Magdarena marrying into Darl as well as Farlane’s third princess Maria marrying into Markto, the ties with Farlane for both countries were stronger than ever before. Were they to hear of these information from Forre, Markto might very well be willing to temporarily increase the amount of iron exported to Darl.
「If they avert their eyes from these rising prices, then we might be able to pull through with this. Farlane has hardly ever relied on one country for resources/goods that they specialized in, so it is highly unlikely that this will cause any sort of problem. In which case, the real issue is……」
「The Midas Federation……」
「Indeed. There isn’t a single good mine in that country despite it having adjoined land with Forre. If these disturbances worsen, the effects will probably be greater than even that of Forre.」
The retainers now had grave expressions on their faces, but for a different reason from earlier as they heard what the queen said. The Midas Federation was sandwiched between Darl and Forre, at largest a population of several million and at smallest the size of a city-state like the Vatican, seventeen small countries in all. Looking at the big picture, it might seem rather flimsy, but it was still an important cluster of countries that held the trade route between Darl and Forre.
If Darl were to fall into chaos, there was a possibility that Darl and Forre’s direct trade would be cut off, and at worst, one third of Forre (no small area) would become a nest for monsters. In that sense, this issue was in a whole other dimension. This was what enduring the rising price could lead to.
「Why not simply merge our country and Forre together？」
「We are not Woldeus. I will not have us being slandered for carrying the name of dirty invaders without any decent resources or farmland and cutting off the land.」
Despite Midas Federation being in a geopolitically crucial position, the reason it had yet to be invaded by Darl or Forre was for all the reasons the queen had listed. After all, the countries in Midas, all the way from the top to the bottom of the political spectrum, were on truly bad terms. Despite this, however, military and commerce were being handled in an unbelievably organized fashion.
If they felt like it, Darl and Forre could easily overtake the federation, but with the inevitable civil wars and insurrections that would follow, so it was only natural for any policymaker to think “over my dead body!” at the mere thought of suppressing the region. Looking at the many hundreds of years that these regions were sandwiched between the giants of Darl and Forre without any leader to unite them, entering into civil war and splitting apart whenever the population of each country reached more than ten million, it was no wonder.
So there was already a lack of desire to spend money and the lives of soldiers on this land, and yet this region had a low self-sufficency in food supply. Though the reason was unclear, despite being a region abundant with greenery (unlike Darl), there seemed to be a lack of decent soil to plant crops, and leaving out a small portion of the hybrids, most humans could not digest the natural vegetation growing there (and it neither hindered nor helped them). As there wasn’t any land to take salt water or rock salt from, Midas Federation’s self sufficiency rate of food was less than Darl’s.
Were they to merge, there would be unbelievable burdens of order maintenance and food supply increase. Trade route safety and the tariffs accompanying it were important elements that should not be ignored, but it was not cost effective and the risk was too great, so neither Darl nor Forre felt like trying anything.
「For now, we need to get in secret contact with Forre and yield to Farlane so that we can get access to as many harbors as possible.」
「Honestly, if they were to form their own allied nation, I wonder if they could finally find a way to band together……」
「Were they able to do such a thing, they would have long ago been called Kingdom of Midas or Midas Empire, not Midas Federation.」
「They cannot disobey our country, Farlane, or Forre due to their food and resource problems, so I would prefer that they at least quit bringing their disputes over to us like it’s our responsibility……」
「It’s been like that for many years, so you need not expect anything to change at this point.」
The queen said rather negligently about the troublesome neighboring country. Their relations had always been poor, which was a fair comparison to how things were on Earth.
In the darkness, elsewhere…
「It only went well in one location, hm?」
The lord of darkness spat out as he read the flow of the feng shui. This person was filled with miasma to the point where they could twist even the darkness itself. They seemed to be displeased with the work in Forre.
「Is it not splendid enough that things are going well in one location？」
「As if. We only succeeded in exchange for notifying the goddess of our movements. It is hardly worthwhile to have only one dungeon in one area！」
Another lord of darkness asked a question, and the first lord spat in an annoyed manner. They had planned on turning half of the whole region into a dungeon, but unexpectedly enough, the earth mother goddess had been quite fierce in her resistance, and all they could manage was a cave-in. This still ended up lowering Forre’s productivity drastically, but there were an unbelievable amount of dwarves in Forre. Judging by their passion for mines, it was likely to only take a month before the dwarves were again ready to begin excavation.
In other words, it had already been a failure when they had decided on dealing a fatal blow to Forre’s industry.
「I figured Barold could not handle it on his own and intervened, but I have no choice but to admit I was careless.」
「But still, one dungeon would be useful in gathering holy energy, would it not？」
「We can only hope that it has gone that far, or else it will not have been worth it to risk the goddess identifying us.」
If there were one good thing to come of this, that would probably be the fact that they succeeded in turning Forre’s largest mine into a dungeon. Crest Cave’s output amount was the world’s number one. This mine would simply be forced to close off, and three cities would be forced to endure a shortage of iron. At that time, the voices of deep resentment would surely birth much holy energy.
「Either way, we first need to deal with the earth mother goddess.」
「I have also heard that the Barold in Forre is struggling a bit, to which I have pulled a few strings.」
The dark lord who had been irritated at their own work ending in failure expressed interest at what their cohort had to say. The earth mother goddess was the greatest threat to Forre. Any amount of reduction of her power would be appreciated.
“ If Darl were to fall into chaos…” >> “ If the Midas Federation were to fall into chaos…”