Translator: “Pink Tea” Editor: ”Ryunakama”
「……The prime minister, a king?」
Asked for confirmation, Aifa calmly responds.
As Taiki made a wry smile, receiving way too short of an answer, Yuri, with a smile on her face, gave an answer instead.
「Though they said that this is only temporary, but the new King is seeking to reopen negotiations on an alliance with Heavenly Country. With the hope of the loyalists’ faction, the King, being dead, they lost their previous influence. Of course, the royal guard dying after losing their owner per contract is also one of the huge factors in that. Of course, the royal lineage still remains, but as it is considered that the previous king was at odds with Taiki-sama, it is thought that they would not take part in governing the realm……」
Hearing those words, Taiki breathed out a long sigh.
「In other words, for a while, the prime minister will be a king…… I think that Duke Castor was the most influential there, but to think that the unassuming prime minister would do such a thing. But anyway, the bloodless capitulation was the ideal outcome, yet things took the worst possible turn. Though none of the ordinary citizens were harmed……」
With Taiki being down in spirits, Ayla spoke up with a pained expression.
「Please, don’t torment yourself over this too much…… No matter what you would’ve done, Karluk Kingdom was bound to get swallowed up into a fight for its existence. Compared to that, it ended with far fewer casualties.」
「Well, that is true…… But, I just can’t get it off my mind.」
Mea tilted her head, hearing Taiki’s troubled reply to Ayla’s encouragement.
「……The new king will listen to Taiki-sama. All of the slaves will be treated better. And I heard that they will even release people that were made into slaves through force. In other words, the best possible outcome?」
Mea spoke with a straight face, to which Taiki made an awkward smile.
「Well, in that aspect it is indeed a good result. Yeah, it might be just my arrogance. Let’s focus on what is about to come instead.」
With a dry laugh, Taiki stood up.
「And I also have to talk with the new Karluk King, Strauss-san, directly.」
Receiving ardent welcome, Taiki was led into the royal castle and was immediately taken to the guest room for noble visitors.
Though he didn’t say anything, a number of maids lined up with silver trays with water, wine, and fruits in their hands, giving a warm reception to the bewildered Taiki.
And hearing the sound of footsteps of someone running at full speed coming from afar, Taiki turned his way towards the sound.
「So-sorry for making you wait!」
And with the door swinging open, the ex-prime minister appeared, Strauss-san, clad in a white mantle.
He clearly wasn’t accustomed to that outfit, but Taiki didn’t poke in there, and standing up, greeted him.
「It’s been a while. I’m also sorry for such a sudden visit. You probably were surprised?」
Strauss shook his head so hard that it looked like it was about to snap.
「Nonono! Ta-Taiki-sama’s visit is the highest honor! We are truly grateful for this, coming all the way to such a country……!」
Strauss began by replying in a manner that could be easily interpreted as servile, but Taiki, making a dry laugh, raised one hand.
「Ah, haha…… No, it is I who should be saying that. It is an honor to meet a new King, Strauss-san. I hope we today, will be able to have a productive discussion.」
The moment Taiki said that Strauss straightened his back as if trying to stand at attention, with cold sweat pouring down his face.
Taiki said that merely thinking of having a conversation at ease, but depending on the opponent, those words can sound extremely serious.
「Sa-same here, by all means, please treat us kindly! P-please, have clemency……!」
Strauss kept repeatedly bowing, at this point looking like a criminal waiting for the punishment.
By now, the power relationship between the two was clear, so it was pretty much decided that all of the following negotiations would go in Heavenly County’s favor.
As a result, Strauss already released slaves held by the royal family, agreed to the abolition of the old slave contracts, and as for the slaves procured through illegal means, like abductions or village raids, he replied that he will severely punish both those that did that and also the merchants that handled such slaves.
Finally, with a suggestion from Taiki, who was worried about Karluk Kingdom’s possible decline, the deployment of robots, including for the purposes of air-transport, was promised.
Though he suggested that out of pity, Strauss was grateful to the point of crying, and as proof of loyalty, gave away the set of silver armor that was worn by one of the royal guards.
That is a magic item called Anti-Physical Armor, a national-grade treasure, but Taiki received it without really understanding what this is about, though replying「Super cool」, with great delight.
By the way, Inishida’s personal guard all fainted upon his death and were promptly restrained, but they were promised to be released from the slavery later, so currently, Strauss is protected only by a small force of only ten-odd private troops.
However, with that, the talks about those negotiations spread widely inside and outside the country, focusing mostly on Karluk Kingdom giving a national grade treasure to Heavenly Country, and Heavenly Country lending flying golems to Karluk Kingdom for free.
Most countries took it as Karluk Kingdom becoming a vassal state of Heavenly Country, and now being under its protection.
Strauss was relieved to gain the exact result he was hoping for, and for a while was released from the insomnia that plagued him lately.
While listening to a report on the slaves’ situation in Karluk Kingdon and other countries where he set up slave stores, Taiki gazed at the scenery at the surface.
「……as such, everyone is showing even better results than expected. Catherine-sama is especially amazing. Not sure how she did it, but she took many victims of slave hunts. Since Grey-sama is involved in the emancipation of slaves, he didn’t raise profits, but on the other hand, the number of freed slaves is the highest there. And about Leticia-sama, it seems that she used most of the profits from the slave trade to expand the store. With her personality, I assume she is trying to help as many orphans as she can, attempting to create workplaces and dwellings for them. Hence, there is no profit at the moment, but it shows the most promise for future growth.」
Nodding to Yuri’s report, Taiki replied half-heartedly by humming Then, Ayla spoke up.
「I think that Taiki-sama’s wish of improving the treatment of slaves is definitely coming true……」
With a wry smile, Taiki answers to Ayla, who spoke worriedly about him looking down.
「Yeah. There is no point brooding over this. Let’s leave the rest to Grey-san and the others. By the way, for a change of pace, I went through various images and found a curious country.」
Having said that, Taiki projected the image displayed on the screen.
A white mountain covered in snow. The contrast between the beautiful yet grim mountain and deep blue sky was splendid. Halfway up that white mountain, stood a beautiful white and blue castle, harmonious with its surroundings. The castle, boasting several spires, was somewhat similar in its design to gothic architecture.
Below the castle, a white cityscape was spreading all the way to the base of the mountain. Shiningly white walls surrounding the castle town gave a clear impression of how solid its defenses were even from afar.
Castle and castle town that fully exploited the natural fortress that this mountain is.
While for a moment everyone was captivated by that sight, eventually, someone spoke up.
「……Sorcerer Kingdom Telciel.」
To those words, Taiki widened his eyes, looking greatly intrigued.
「Heeh, Sorcerer Kingdom…… Then it should have a lot of interesting stuff?」
When Taiki asked, Ayla lowered her head a bit with a serious look.
「Well… It is said that Sorcerer Kingdom Telciel cut off all diplomatic ties and has its own peculiar culture. However, because of that disposition, it is next to impossible for a foreigner to set a foot into that castle town. As for the royal castle, there is no information on it at all, outside of the exterior appearance.」
Hearing such an explanation, Taiki was fired up even further.
「How thorough. But it’s not like they have all the resources there, right?」
「Apparently, they engage in trade at the base of the mountain. Even so, they seem to be able to procure most of the resources they need on their own, so import and export aren’t very active.」
「Hmm…… Since it’s a monarchy, it means that they have a king, who engages in politics, and citizens, following that king, right? I wonder what kind of person they are. For them to engage in national isolation, how interesting.」
「According to rumors, the King never showed himself…… If neighboring countries seek diplomatic contact, an emissary would be dispatched there in every case. I never heard of any negotiations held and Sorcerer Kingdom.」
As Taiki and Ayla had such an exchange, Aifa calmly spoke up.
「……According to rumors circulating among elven nobility, the king of Sorcerer Kingdom Telciel is said to be the remnant of high elves. The settlement created in their attempt to isolate from the common folk is said to be the beginning of Sorcerer Kingdom……」
「High Elf-sama, huh. The legendary ancestors of elves. If I’m not mistaken, it is said that they have a very long lifespan of over a few hundred years. Amazing.」
「Few hundred years!」
Mea showed a great surprise to those words. Taiki nodded in agreement.
「How interesting. High elf, huh. I’d like to meet them.」
Having said that, Taiki set Sorcerer Kingdom Telciel as the next destination.
「I hope we will be able to get inside……」
And behind excited Taiki, stood Ayla with a troubled smile, and A1, silently looking at the screen.